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Full text of "The unconscious, the fundamentals of human personality, normal and abnormal"

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COPYRIGHT, 1914 and 1921 

Set up and electrotyped. Published March, 1914. 
New Edition, June, 1921. 






This work is designed to be an introduction to 
abnormal psychology. The problems considered, 
however, belong equally to normal psychology in 
that they are problems of psycho-physiological 
functions and mechanisms. I have made no attempt 
to develop any particular school of psychological 
theory but rather, so far as may be, to gather to- 
gether the knowledge already gained and lay a 
foundation which can be built upon by any school 
for the solution of particular problems, especially 
those of special pathology. I have therefore en- 
deavored to avoid controversial questions although 
this, of course, has not been wholly possible, and 
indeed so far as special pathological conditions (the 
psychoses) have been considered, it has been for the 
purpose of providing data and testing the principles 
adduced. The inductive method, alone, I believe, as 
in the physical sciences, can enable us to arrive at 
sound conclusions justify the formulation of theo- 
ries to explain psychological phenomena. Because 
of the very difficulties of this field of research one 
of which is that of submitting to experimental condi- 
tions complex psychological phenomena having so 
many factors it is all the more incumbent that the 
inductive method should be employed. To my way 


of thinking we should begin at the bottom and build 
up bit by bit, drawing, as we go, no wider conclu- 
sions than the facts developed warrant ; or if we do, 
these should be recognized clearly as working hy- 
potheses or speculative theories. Skyscrapers 
should not be erected until the foundations have been 
examined to see if they will bear the superstructure. 
That I have wholly succeeded in so rigorously re- 
stricting my own endeavors I can scarcely hope. I 
trust, however, that I have succeeded in consistently 
maintaining the distinction between facts and their 

The present volume consists of selected lectures 
(with the exception of four) from courses on ab- 
normal psychology delivered at the Tufts College 
Medical School (1908-10) and later at the University 
of California (1910).* These again were based on a 

* In this connection it is a satisfaction to the author to note 
that more recently a committee was appointed by the American 
Psychological Association (December, 1911) to investigate the rela- 
tion of psychology to medical education. This committee, after an ex- 
tensive inquiry by correspondence with all the medical schools of the 
country, has made a report (Science, Oct. 17, 1913) based upon the 
preponderating opinion of the best medical schools and of the schools 
as a whole. The second (in substance) and third conclusions 
reached in the report were as follows: 

2nd: For entrance in certain schools requiring a preliminary 
college training of greater or less length an introductory or pre- 
inedical course in psychology should be required in the same way 
as they now require chemistry, biology, physics, etc., or, in lieu 
thereof, a course in the medical schools. 

3rd: "It is the belief of most of the best schools that a second 
course in psychology should precede the course in clinical psychiatry 
and neurology. This course should have more of a practical nature, 


series of papers on the Unconscious published in the 
Journal of Abnormal Psychology (1908-9) of which 
they are elaborations. Since the lectures were deliv- 
ered a large amount of new material has been incor- 
porated and the subject matter considered in more 
detail and more exhaustively than was practical be- 
fore student bodies. The four additional lectures 
(X, XI, XII and XIII) appeared in abbreviated 
form in the same Journal (Oct., Nov., 1912) under 
the title "The Meaning of Ideas as Determined by 
Unconscious Settings." The lecture form has been 
retained, offering as it does many advantages where, 
in the exposition of a difficult subject, much that is 
elemental needs to be stated. 

As the subconscious and its processes are funda- 
mentals both in the structure of personality and in 

and should deal especially with abnormal mental processes and with 
the application of psychological principles and facts to medical 
topics. Although this course should deal chiefly with psychopath- 
lgy> it should not be permitted to develop, or degenerate, into a 
course in psychiatry, neurology or psychotherapeutics. This course 
should be clinical in the sense that, as far as possible, clinical 
material should be the basis of the course, but it should not be 
clinical in the sense that the students are given particular cases for 
the purpose of diagnosis or of treatment. The functions of the 
courses in psychiatry and neurology should not be assumed by this 
course. ' ' 

The courses, from which I have selected twelve lectures for my 
present purpose, were designed for just such instruction as is recom- 
mended in this report. They were, I believe, the first to be given 
on these subjects in any medical school or college in this country. 
Necessarily they covered a wider range of topics than the lectures 
now published which more properly serve as an introduction to the 
general subject. 


the many mechanisms through which personality, 
normal and abnormal, finds expression, the first 
eight lectures are devoted to its exposition. Indeed, 
as has been said, the subconscious is not only the 
most important problem of psychology, it is the 
problem. The study of its phenomena must be pre- 
liminary to that of the functioning mechanisms of 
both the normal mind and of those special patholog- 
ical conditions the psycho-neuroses which modern 
investigators are tracing to its perversions. 

In a recently published article M. Bergson con- 
cludes with the following prophesy: "To explore 
the most sacred depths of the unconscious, to labor 
in what I have just called the subsoil of conscious- 
ness, that will be the principal task of psychology 
in the century which is opening. I do not doubt that 
wonderful discoveries await it there, as important 
perhaps as have been in the preceding centuries the 
discoveries of the physical and natural sciences. 
That at least is the promise which I make for it, 
that is the wish that in closing I have for it. " * 

And yet one reads and hears all sorts of contra- 
dictory statements, made by those who it is pre- 
sumed should know, regarding the actuality of the 
subconscious. Thus one or another writer, assum- 
ing to know, states most positively that there is no 
such thing as the subconscious. Others, equally em- 
phatic, postulate it as an established fact rather 
than a theory, or assume it as a philosophical con- 
cept or hypothesis to explain particular phenomena. 

*"The Birth of the Dream," The Independent, Oct. 30, 1913. 


One difficulty is that the term, as commonly used, 
has many meanings, and it has followed that dif- 
ferent writers have assumed it with respectively 
different meanings. Consequently the subconscious 
as an actuality has been unwittingly denied when 
the intent has been really to deny some particular 
meaning or interpretation, and particular meanings 
have been subsumed which are only philosophical 

There should be no difficulty in deciding what the 
facts permit us to postulate. The subconscious is a 
theory based upon observed facts and formulated to 
explain those facts. There are many precise phe- 
nomena of different kinds which can only be ex- 
plained as due to explicitly subconscious processes, 
that is, processes which do not appear in the con- 
tent of consciousness ; just as the phenomena mani- 
fested by radium can only be explained by emana- 
tions (or rays) which themselves are not visible and 
cannot be made the object of conscious experience. 
In each case it is the manifestations of such proc- 
esses of which we become aware. Subconscious 
processes and radio-activity stand on precisely the 
same basis so far as the determination of their 
actuality is concerned. (The latter have the advan- 
tage, of course, in that being physical they are sub- 
ject to quantitative measurement.) Such being the 
case it ought to be possible to construct the theory 
of the subconscious by inductive methods on the 
basis of facts of observation just as any theory of 
the physical sciences is constructed. 


This task I have set before myself as well as that 
of giving precision to our conception of the theory 
and taking it out of the domain of philosophical con- 
cepts. With this purpose in view I have endeavored 
to apply the method of science and construct the 
theory by induction from the data of observation 
and experiment. I dare say this has been a some- 
what ambitious and some will say, perhaps, over- 
bold undertaking. Undoubtedly, too, this attitude 
toward this and other individual problems has not 
been always consistently maintained, nor perhaps 
is it completely possible in the present state of the 

Our formulations should be as precise as possible 
and facts and concepts of a different order should 
not be included in one and the same formula. I 
have, accordingly, divided the subconscious into two 
classes, namely (1) the unconscious, or neural dis- 
positions and processes, and (2) the coconscious, or 
actual subconscious ideas which do not enter the 
content of conscious awareness. An unconscious 
process and a coconscious process are both therefore 
subconscious processes but particular types thereof 
the one being purely neural or physical and the 
other psychological or ideational. 

The soundness of the conclusions reached in this 
work I leave to the judgment of my critics, of whom 
I doubt not I shall have many. I do not hesitate to 
say, however, that it is only by practical familiarity 
with the phenomena of mental pathology and arti- 
ficially induced phenomena (such as those of hyp- 


nosis, suggestion, etc.), requiring a long training in 
this field of research (as in other scientific fields), 
that we can correctly estimate the value of data and 
the conclusions drawn therefrom; and even then 
many of our conclusions can be regarded as only 

In these lectures I have also endeavored (Lectures 
XIV-XVI) to develop the phenomena of the emo- 
tional innate dispositions which I conceive play one 
of the most fundamental parts in human personality 
and in determining mental and physiological be- 

Experimental methods and the well-known clinical 
methods of investigation have been employed by me 
as far as possible. The data made use of have been 
derived for the most part from my own observations, 
though confirmatory observations of others have not 
been neglected. Although a large number and va- 
riety of subjects or cases have been studied, as they 
have presented themselves in private and hospital 
practice, the data have been to a large extent sought 
in intensive studies, on particular subjects, carried 
on in some cases over a period of many years. 
These subjects, because of the ease with which sub- 
conscious and emotional phenomena were either 
spontaneously manifested or could be experiment- 
ally evoked, were particularly suitable for such 
studies and fruitful in results. It is by such inten- 
sive studies on special subjects, rather than by cas- 
ual observation of many cases, that I believe the 


deepest insight into mental processes and mechan- 
isms can be obtained. 

In conclusion I wish to express my great obliga- 
tion to Mrs. William G. Bean for the great assist- 
ance she has rendered in many ways in the prepa- 
ration of this volume. Not the least has been the 
transcription and typing of my manuscript, for the 
most part written in a quasi shorthand, reading the 
printer's proofs, and much other assistance in the 
preparation of the text for the press. For this her 
practical and unusually extensive acquaintance with 
the phenomena has been of great value. 

I am also indebted to Mr. Lydiard Horton for 
kindly reading the proofs and for many helpful 
suggestions in clarifying the arrangement of the 
text a most difficult task considering the colloquial 
form of the original lectures. 


458 Beacon Street. 


The favorable reception which was given to the first 
edition of this work has tempted me in preparing a new 
edition at the request of the publishers to incorporate 
four additional chapters dealing with the general 
principles underlying the structure and dynamic 
elements of human personality (Lecture XVII) and a 
study of a special problem in personality in which these 
principles are involved, namely, the psychogenesis of 
multiple personality as illustrated by a study of the 
case known as B. C. A.* (Lectures XVIII-XX.) 
The latter study was omitted (with other lectures) from 
the first edition in order to limit the number of subjects 
treated and the size of the volume. 

Although the theory of the subconscious and that of 
the dynamics of specific conscious and subconscious 
processes (to the fundamental principles of both of 
which these lectures were limited) owe their value to 
our being able through them to explain many mental 
and physiological abnormalities, they possess an equal 
value from the light they throw upon the structure and 
dynamics of that composite whole best termed human 

* A descriptive account of this case, written as a sort of autobiography 
by the subject herself, was published in the Journal of Abnormal Psy- 
chology (Vol. 3, Nos. 4 & 5, 1908-1909) under the title "My Life as a 
Dissociated Personality." This remarkable account includes an instruc- 
tive description of the coconscious self of considerable value. 



personality. Over and above a knowledge of the 
abnormal, what we as human beings want to know is 
not only what sort of physiological beings but what sort 
of conscious beings we are; and how we think and act, 
and what motives and other impulses whether hidden 
or in the clear light of awareness, regulate and deter- 
mine our behavior; what are the forces that do it and 
how. We want to know the answer to a lot of problems 
of this character, all of which involve principles of 
innate and acquired dispositions. 

A comprehensive study of human personality would 
include, as far as may be, answers to all these problems 
and would require a volume in itself. I have, therefore, 
not been able more than to give an outline in Lecture 
XVII of what seem to me to be the fundamental prin- 
ciples involved and the dynamic unitary systems out of 
which the structure is built up. There are various 
points of view from which the structure of the mind may 
be considered, just as with the structure of a literary 
work of art, or of a complicated mechanism like an 
automobile. We may consider the structure of the lat- 
ter, for instance, as an assembly of complex units 
or mechanisms cylinders, carburetors, ignition sys- 
tems, etc., each analyzed into its elements, without 
regard to the dynamic, integrative functioning of the 
units in the total mechanism. This would be the static 
point of view. Or we may consider these units as wholes 
from the standpoint of the forces they generate, the 
processes they subserve and the parts they play in the 
total functioning of the whole machine. This is the 
dynamic point of view. It is this latter which alone has 


a vital practical interest. The former is of interest only 
to the technician. So with the mind. The dynamic 
point of view alone is of practical importance and alone 
awakens fascinating interest of stirring intensity. So 
long as psychology held to the static viewpoint it was 
only of academic value. For submitted to the prag- 
matic test it made little difference whether it was right 
or wrong. Nor could it become an applied science. 
Consequently it is from the dynamic viewpoint that I 
have sketched in and it is little more than a sketch 
the application of the principles laid down in these 
lectures to the peculiarly appealing problem of per- 
sonality. Closely related to this is multiple personality, 
for it is a special problem in personality, and one that is 
a fascinating study in itself. But aside from its own 
intrinsic interest, its practical interest, its chief value is 
derived from the fact that it is a veritable vivisection of 
the mind by the mind's own vital forces, and as such 
gives us much more definite and precise data for the 
determination of normal mental mechanisms and 
processes than can introspective analysis; just as the 
vivisection of the body in the laboratory and by disease 
has given us our most precise knowledge of physiology. 
Consequently the phenomena acquire a greater interest 
and value from the insight they give into the normal. 
For there is no more fruitful material for the study of 
the mechanisms and processes of personality than cases 
of this sort where there is a disintegration of the nor- 
mally integrated structural wholes and a reassembling 
of the component elements into new composite wholes. 
In the construction of these new personalities certain 


normal structures and mechanisms are dissected out, 
so to speak, of the original composite by the stress of 
the forces that cause the cleavage between systems and 
are then reassembled into new functioning wholes. 
There is a veritable vivisection of the mind. In a mind 
thus disassembled nearly every mental phenomenon, 
conscious and subconscious conflicts, hallucinations, 
coconscious processes, defense reactions, etc., can be 
observed in an isolated form and systematically studied. 
They are veritable gold mines of psychological phe- 
nomena, as William James once expressed it to me in 
reference to one of my cases. It is strange, therefore, 
that such cases have been neglected by psychologists 
who would study mental mechanisms. It is true that 
for a complete understanding of multiple personality a 
study of a number of cases should be presented, partic- 
ularly as many variations are to be observed constitut- 
ing differing types. But in a volume of this kind this 
would be impracticable. I have, therefore, limited 
myself to the psychogenesis of a single case, that of 
B. C. A. This will I believe be of interest not only as 
illustrating the basic principles underlying the pathol- 
ogy of multiple personality, but because of the data it 
offers for the understanding of the structure and mech- 
anisms of the normal self, something that curiously 
appeals to the egoistic interest of human nature. 




. . .v 

. xiii 



tinued) ........ 49 

V. NEUROGRAMS . . . . . . 109 


NESS 338 


OBSESSIONS ....... 363 




CONFLICTS . . . . . . 488 

MAN PERSONALITY . . . . . . 529 


THE CASE OF B. C. A. . . 545 

XIX. (The Same Continued) THE B PERSONALLY . 593 

XX. (The Same Continued) THE A PERSONALITY . . 614 


INDEX . 645 





Gentlemen : 

The subject which I have chosen for our first 
lecture is the theory of the mechanism of memory. 
I begin with the study of this problem because a 
knowledge of the facts which underlie the theory of 
memory is a necessary introduction to an under- 
standing of the Unconscious, and of the part which 
subconscious processes play in normal and abnor- 
mal mental life.* Speaking more specifically, with- 
out such a preliminary study I do not believe we 
can interpret correctly a very large number of the 
disturbances of mind and body which are traceable 
to the activity of subconscious processes and with 
which we shall later have to do. 

If we consider memory as a process, and not as 
specific phases of consciousness, we shall find that it 
is an essential factor in the mechanisms underlying 
a large variety of phenomena of normal and abnor- 
mal life. These phenomena include those of both 

* I divide the Subconscious into two parts, namely the Unconscious 
and the Coconscious. See preface and Lecture VIII. 



mind and body of a kind not ordinarily conceived of 
as manifestations of memory. I would have you 
dwell in your minds for a moment on the fact that I 
make this distinction between memory as a process 
and memory as a phase of consciousness or specific 
mental experience. What we ordinarily and con- 
ventionally have in mind when we speak of memory 
is the conscious thought of some past mental experi- 
ence. But when we conceive of memory as a 
process we have in mind the whole mechanism 
through the working of which this past experience 
is registered, conserved, and reproduced, whether 
such reproduction be in consciousness or below the 
surface of consciousness. 

Memory is usually looked upon as something that 
pertains solely to consciousness. Such a conception 
is defensible if the meaning of the term is restricted 
to those facts alone which come within our conscious 
experience. But when we consider the mechanism 
by which a particular empirical fact of this kind is 
introduced into consciousness we find that this con- 
ception is inadequate. We find then that we are 
obliged to regard conscious memory as only the end 
result of a process and, in order to account for this 
end result, to assume other stages in the process 
which are not phases of consciousness. Though the 
end result is a reproduction of the ideas which con- 
stituted the previous conscious experience, this re- 
production is not the whole process. 

More than this, the conscious experience is not 
the only experience that may be reproduced by the 


process, nor is the end result always and necessarily 
a state of consciousness. Conscious memory is only 
a particular type of memory. The same process 
may terminate in purely unconscious or physiologi- 
cal effects, or what may be called physiological 
memory to distinguish it from conscious memory. 
Along with the revived ideas and their feeling tones 
there may be a revival of the physiological experi- 
ences, or processes, which originally accompanied 
them; such as secretion of sweat, saliva and gastric 
juice, the contraction and dilatation of the blood 
vessels, the inhibition or excitation of the heart, 
lungs and other viscera, the contraction of muscles, 
etc. These visceral mechanisms, being originally 
elements in a complex process and accompaniments 
of the idea, may be reproduced along with the con- 
scious memory, and even without conscious memory. 
As this physiological complex is an acquired experi- 
ence it is entitled to be regarded as memory so far 
as its reproduction is the end result of the same 
kind of process or mechanism as that which repro- 
duces ideas. 

Then, again, investigations into the subconscious 
have shown that the original experience may be re- 
produced subconsciously without rising into aware- 

The more comprehensive way, then, of looking at 
memory is to regard it as a process and not simply 
as an end result. The process, as we shall see, is 
made up of three factors Registration, Conserva- 
tion, and Reproduction. Of these the end result is 


reproduction; conservation being the preservation 
of that which was registered. 

This view is far more fruitful, as you will pres- 
ently see, for memory acquires a deeper significance 
and will be found to play a fundamental and unsus- 
pected part in the mechanism of many obscure 
mental processes. 

From this point of view, ipon memory, considered 
as a process, depend the acquired conscious and 
subconscious habits of mind and body. 

The process involves unconscious as well as con- 
scious factors and may be wholly unconscious (sub- 

Two of its factors registration and conservation 
are responsible for the building up of the uncon- 
scious as the storehouse of the mind and, therefore, 
primarily for all subconscious processes, other than 
those which are innate. 

To it may be referred the direct excitation of 
many subconscious manifestations of various kinds. 

Consciously or subconsciously it largely deter- 
mines our prejudices, our superstitions, our beliefs, 
our points of view, our attitudes of mind. 

Upon it to a large degree depend what we call 
personality and character. 

It often is the unsuspected and subconscious 
secret of our judgments, our sentiments, and im- 

It is the process which most commonly induces 
dreams and furnishes the material out of which they 
are constructed. 


It is the basis of many hypnotic phenomena. 

In the field of pathology, memory, through its 
perversions, takes part in and helps to determine 
the form of a variety of disturbances such as ob- 
sessions, impulsions, tics, habit psychoses and 
neuroses, many of the manifestations of that great 
protean psychosis, hysteria, and other common ail- 
ments which it is the fashion of the day to term 
neurasthenia and psychasthenia. It is largely re- 
sponsible for the conscious and subconscious con- 
flicts which disrupt the human mind and result in 
various pathological states. 

Finally, upon the utilization of the processes of 
memory modern psychotherapeutics, or the educa- 
tional treatment of disease, is largely based. For 
many of these reasons an understanding of the 
mechanism of memory is essential for an under- 
standing of the subconscious. In short, memory 
furnishes a standpoint from which we can produc- 
tively study the normal and abnormal processes of 
the mind conscious and subconscious. 

These somewhat dogmatic general statements 
which I have put before you much after the fashion 
of the lawyer who presents a general statement of 
his case in anticipation of the evidence I hope 
will become clear and their truth evident as we 
proceed; likewise, their bearing upon the facts of 
abnormal psychology. To make them clear it will 
be necessary to explain in some detail the generally 
accepted theory of memory as a process and to cite 
the numerous data upon which it rests. 


There may be, as, indeed, you will find there are, 
wide differences of opinion as to the exact psycho- 
logical mechanism by which a memory-process plays 
its part in the larger processes of mental life, nor- 
mal and abnormal, such as I have just mentioned, 
but that the memory-process is a fundamental 
factor is revealed by whatever method the problems 
are attacked. A study, therefore, of this funda- 
mental factor and a determination of its mechanism 
are a prerequisite for a study of the more complex 
processes in which it takes part. For this reason 
I shall begin the study of the Unconscious (sub- 
conscious), to which I shall ask your attention in 
these lectures, with a consideration of the processes 
of memory. 

If you ask the average person, as I have often 
done, how or why he remembers he will be puzzled 
and he is apt to reply, "Why, I just remember," or, 
1 ' I never thought of that before. ' ' If you push him 
a bit and ask what becomes of ideas after they have 
passed out of mind and have given place to other 
ideas, and how an idea that has passed out of mind, 
that has gone, disappeared, can be brought back 
again as memory, he becomes further puzzled. We 
know that ideas that have passed out of mind may 
be voluntarily recalled, or reproduced, as memory; 
we may say that meantime they have become what 
may be called dormant. But surely something 
must have happened to enable these conscious ex- 
periences to be conserved in some way and recalled. 
Ideas are not material things which, like books, can 


be laid away on a shelf to be taken up again 
when wanted, and yet we can recall, or repro- 
duce, many ideas when we want them just as 
we can go to a shelf and take down any book we 

We learn the alphabet and the multiplication table 
in childhood. During the greater part of our lives 
the sensory images, auditory language symbols, etc., 
which may be summarized as ideas representing 
these educational experiences, are out of our minds 
and do not form a continuous part of our conscious 
experiences, but they may be recalled at any moment 
as memory. In fact, try as hard as we may, we 
cannot forget our alphabet or multiplication table. 
Why is this? 

The older psychology did not bother itself much 
with these questions which puzzle the average man. 
It was content for the most part with a descriptive 
statement of the facts of conscious memory. It 
did not concern itself with the process by which 
memory is effected ; nor, so long as psychology dealt 
only with phases of consciousness, was it of much 
consequence. It has been only since subconscious 
processes have loomed large in psychology and have 
been seen to take part on the one hand in the 
mechanism of conscious thought and on the other to 
produce various bodily phenomena, that the process 
of memory has acquired great practical importance. 
For it has been seen that in these subconscious 
processes previous conscious experiences are resur- 
rected to take part as subconscious memory, conse- 


quently a conscious experience that has passed out 
of mind may not only recur again as conscious 
memory, but may recur subconsciously below the 
threshold of awareness. The study of subconscious 
processes therefore necessarily includes the proc- 
esses of memory. And so it has become a matter 
of considerable moment to follow the fate of experi- 
ences after they have passed out of mind with a 
view to determining the mechanism by which they 
can be reproduced consciously and subconsciously. 
More than this it is important that the theory of 
memory should be removed if possible from the 
domain of purely speculative psychological con- 
cepts and placed on a sound basis of observation 
and experiment like other accepted theories of 

From the point of view of animism, and indeed 
of dualism, nothing becomes of the ideas that have 
passed out of mind ; they simply, for the time being, 
cease to exist. Consciousness changes its form. 
Nothing is preserved, nothing is stored up. This 
is still the popular notion according to which a 
mental experience at any given moment the con- 
tent of my consciousness, for instance, at this mo- 
ment as I speak to you is only one of a series of 
kaleidoscopic changes or phases of my self-con- 
sciousness. In saying this what is meant plainly 
must be that the content of consciousness at any 
given moment is a phase of a continuing psychical 
something. We may, perhaps, call this my self- 
consciousness, and say that when I reproduce an 

experience as memory I simply bring back (by the 
power of self-determination) that same previous 
phase of the psychical something. If I cannot bring 
it back my failure may be due to a failure of the 
power of self-determination or and here is a weak 
point to a failure in the formative cohesion of the 
elementary ideas of that experience. In this latter 
alternative no note is taken of a seeming contradic- 
tion or paradox. If nothing is preserved, if nothing 
continues to exist, if memory is only one of a series 
of kaleidoscopic phases of consciousness, how can 
there be any cohesion or organization within what 
does not exist? Consciousness according to this no- 
tion might be likened to the water of a lake in which 
vortices were constantly being formed, either by the 
current of inflowing springs from the bottom or the 
influences of external agencies. One vortex would 
give place to a succeeding vortex. Memory would 
be analogous to the reproduction of a previously 
occurring vortex. 

When, however, such a notion of memory is ex- 
amined in the light of all the facts which have to be 
explained it will be found to be descriptive only 
of our conscious experiences. It does not explain 
memory; it does not answer the question of the 
ordinary man, "How can ideas which have ceased 
to exist be reproduced again as memory?" For, 
putting aside various psychological difficulties such 
as, How can I determine the reproduction of a 
former phase of consciousness that is, memory 
without first remembering what I want to deter- 


mine?, or, if this be answered, "By the association 
of phases (ideas)," how can there be any bond of 
association between an existing idea and one that 
does not exist!, and, therefore, how can association 
bring back that which has ceased to exist ! putting 
aside such questions, there are a number of psycho- 
physiological facts which this conception of memory 
will be found inadequate to meet. As a matter of 
fact, investigations into the behavior of mental 
processes, particularly under artificial and patho- 
logical conditions, have disclosed certain phenomena 
which can be adequately explained only on the 
supposition that ideas as they pass out of mind 
the mental experiences of the moment leave some- 
thing behind, some ' residuum which is preserved, 
stored up as it were, and which plays a subsequent 
part in the process of memory. These phenomena 
seem to require what may be called a psycho-physi- 
ological theory of memory. Although the theory 
has long been one of the concepts of normal 
psychology it can be said to have been satisfactorily 
validated only by the investigations of recent years 
in abnormal psychology. 

The full significance as well as the validity of 
this theory can be properly estimated only in the 
light of the facts which have been revealed by 
modern technical methods of investigation. After 
all, it is the consequences of a theory which count, 
and this will be seen to be true particularly as 
respects memory. The pragmatic point of view of 
counting the consequences, of determining the dif- 


ference that the theory makes in the understanding 
of the mental processes of normal and abnormal 
life, reveals the importance to us of validating the 
theory. The consequences of the psycho-physio- 
logical theory are so far-reaching, in view of its 
bearing upon a large number of problems in normal 
and abnormal psychology, that it is worthy of sus- 
tained and exhaustive examination. I will, there- 
fore, briefly resume the various classes of facts 
which support the theory and which any adequate 
theory of memory must satisfactorily explain. For, 
as will appear, besides the common facts of memory 
pertaining to everyday life, there are a large num- 
ber of other facts which can be observed only when 
the mind is dissected, so to speak, by pathological 
processes, and by the production of artificial condi- 
tions, and when investigations are carried out by 
special technic. Irrespective of any theory of ex- 
planation, a knowledge of these facts is extremely 
important for an understanding of many phenom- 
ena in the domain of both normal and abnormal 

The meaning of conservation We all know, as an 
everyday experience of mankind, that at one time 
we can recall what happened to us at some par- 
ticular moment in the past, and at another time we 
cannot. We know that when we have forgotten 
some experience if we stimulate or refresh our 
memory, as the lawyers say to us on the witness- 
gtand, by reference to our notes, appropriately 


called memoranda, the original experience may 
come back to mind. Often at one moment we cannot 
recall a verse, or a name, or a piece of acquired 
knowledge, while at another time, a little later, we 
can. We have a feeling, a perhaps justifiable belief, 
that a desired piece of knowledge is not lost, that it 
is back somewhere in our minds but we cannot get 
at it. If, sooner or later, under one circumstance 
or another, with or without the aid of some kind 
of stimulus, we can recall the desired knowledge 
we say it was preserved (or conserved). If we 
continue, under all circumstances and at all mo- 
ments, to be unable to recall it we say it is lost, that 
our memory of it is not conserved. So the notion 
of conservation of knowledge being something 
apart from recollection enters even into popular 
language. What sort of thing conservation is, 
popular language does not attempt to define. It is 
clear, however, that we may with propriety speak 
of the conservation of experiences, using this term 
in a descriptive sense without forming any definite 
concept of the nature of conservation. Provision- 
ally, then, I shall speak of conservation of a given 
experience in this sense only, meaning that the 
memory of it is not permanently lost but that under 
certain particular circumstances we can recall it. 

Now a large mass of observations demonstrate 
that there are an enormous number of experiences, 
belonging to both normal' and abnormal mental life, 
which we are unable to voluntarily recall during any 
period of our lives, no matter how hard we try, or 


what aids to memory we employ. For these ex- 
periences there is life-long amnesia. Nevertheless, 
it is easy to demonstrate that, though the personal 
consciousness of everyday life cannot recall them, 
they are not lost, properly speaking, but conserved ; 
for when the personal consciousness has undergone 
a peculiar change, at moments when certain special 
alterations have taken place in the conditions of the 
personal consciousness, at such moments you find 
that the subject under investigation recalls the 
apparently lost experiences. These moments are 
those of hypnosis, abstraction, dreams, and certain 
pathological states. Again, in certain individuals 
it is possible by technical devices to awaken sec- 
ondary mental processes in the form of a subcon- 
sciousness which may manifest the memories of the 
forgotten experiences without awareness therefor 
on the part of the personal consciousness. These 
manifestations are known as automatic writing and 
speech. Then, again, by means of certain post- 
hypnotic phenomena, it is easy to study conserva- 
tion experimentally. We can make, as you will 
later see, substantially everything that happened to 
the subject of the experiment in hypnosis his 
thoughts, his speech, his actions, for all of which 
he has complete and irretrievable loss of memory 
in a waking state we can make memory for all 
these lost experiences reappear when hypnosis is 
again induced. Thus we can prove conservation 
when voluntary memory for experiences is abso- 
lutely lost. These experiments, among others, as 


we shall also see, also give an insight into the 
nature of conservation which is the real problem 
involved in an investigation into the process of 

Before undertaking to solve this problem so far 
as may be done it is well to obtain a full realiza- 
tion of the extent to which experiences which have 
been forgotten may be still conserved. I will there- 
fore, as I promised you, resume the experimental 
and other evidence supporting this principle, mak- 
ing use of both personal observations and those of 

NOTE In the following exposition of the evidence for the theory 
of memory it has been necessary to make use of phenomena subsuming 
subconscious processes before the subconscious itself has been demon- 
strated. A few words in explanation of the terms used is therefore 
desirable to avoid confusing the reader. 

Dividing as I do the subconscious into the unconscious and the 
coconscious, the former is either simply a neural disposition, or an 
active neural process without any quality of consciousness; the latter 
is an actual subconscious idea or a process of thought of which, never- 
theless, we are not aware. An unconscious and a coconscious process 
are both, therefore, only particular types of a subconscious process. 
I might have used the single term subconscious throughout the first 
seven lectures, but in that case, though temporarily less confusing, 
the data necessary for the appreciation of the division of the sub- 
conscious into two orders would not have been at hand. Typical 
phenomena having been described as unconscious or coconscious (in- 
stead of simply subconscious), the reader will have already become 
familiar with examples of each type and be thus prepared for the 
final discussion in Lecture Fill. PROVISIONALLY, these three 
terms may be regarded as synonyms. To indicate the synonym, the 
term "subconscious" has often been added in parenthesis in the 
text to one or other of the subdivisional terms, and vice versa. 



I. Normal Life 

Evidence obtained by the method of automatic writing. 
If we take a suitable subject, one in whom "automa- 
tic writing"* has been developed, and study the 
content of the script, we may find that to a large 
extent it contains references to, i. e., memories 
of, experiences which have long been forgotten 
by the subject and which cannot even by the 
stimulus of memoranda be voluntarily recalled. 

* Automatic writing is script which has been produced uncon- 
sciously or involuntarily, although the writer is in an alert state, 
whether it be the normal waking state or hypnosis. The hand writes, 
though the subject does not consciously direct it. Ordinarily, though 
not always, the subject is entirely unaware of what the hand is writ- 
ing, and often the writing is obtaiaed better if the attention is di- 
verted and directed toward other matters. The first knowledge then 
obtained by the subject of what has been written, or that the hand 
has written at all, is on reading the script. Some persons can culti- 
vate the art of this kind of writing. Mrs. Verrall and Mrs. Holland, 
for example, deliberately educated themselves to write automatically, 
and each published a volume of her records. In other normal people 
automatic writing seems to develop accidentally or under special cir- 
cumstances. In certain types of hysteria it is very easily obtained. 
" Planchette, " which many years ago was in vogue as a parlor game, 
was only a particular device to effect automatic writing. 



These experiences may be actions performed even 
as far back as childhood, or passages read in books, 
or fragments of conversation, etc. Thus B. C. A., 
who suffers from an intense fear or phobia of cats, 
particularly white cats, can recall no experience 
in her life which could have given rise to it. Yet 
when automatic writing is resorted to the hand 
writes a detailed account of a fright into which she 
was thrown, when she was only five or six years 
of age, by a white kitten which had a fit while she 
was playing with it. The writing also describes in 
minute detail the furnishings of the room where the 
episode occurred, the pattern of the carpet, the 
decorative designs of the window shades, the fur- 
niture, etc. As this observation is typical of many 
others, it may be well to dwell upon it long enough 
to describe it in some detail for the benefit of those 
who are not familiar with this class of phenomena. 
After it had been determined, by a searching ex- 
amination, that B. C. A. could not recall any ex- 
perience that might throw light upon her phobia*, 
an attempt was made to recover a possible memory 
in hypnosis. As is well known, the memory often 
broadens in hypnosis and events which are forgot- 
ten when " awake "may be recovered. In this in- 
stance the subject was put into two different hyp- 
notic states, but without success. This, again, is 
a matter of some importance for the principle of 
conservation. Different hypnotic states in the same 
individual may be distinguished in that each, among 
other characteristics, may have different and inde- 


pendent systems of memories, as we shall see later. 
The memories which belong to one state cannot be 
recalled in another. Hence the fact that a memory 
cannot be recovered in one state is not proof that 
it is not conserved, nor is a failure to recover the 
memory of an episode in all states of hypnosis evi- 
dence of failure of conservation, any more than is 
the failure to recover a memory in the waking state 
at any given moment. 

In the experiment with B. C. A., after failing to 
awaken a possible memory in either state of hyp- 
nosis, a pencil was put in her hand while she was 
still hypnotized. The hand then wrote automatic- 
ally, without the knowledge of the hypnotized sub- 
ject, the following account of this childhood episode 
that I have just mentioned:* 

"I think I know about the cats. I can remember 
myself, a little child, playing on the floor with a 
kitten, and it began to run about the room and had 
a fit, I think, and it jumped on me, and I was alone, 
and I screamed and cried and called my mother, but 
no one came, and I was very much frightened. I 
do not believe I ever told anyone. It was a white 

* In this particular experiment, when the hand wrote ' ' automat- 
ically, " the second hypnotic consciousness vanished and the subject 
went into a trance state, or what is equivalent to a third hypnotic 
state. There was no consciousness present, excepting that which was 
associated with the writing hand. At other times, in experiments of 
this class with this same subject, th hypnotic or the waking con- 
sciousness, as the case might be, persisted alert while the hand wrote. 
For the purpose of the experiment in recovering memories this change 
in the psychological condition is not of importance, the principle re- 
mains the same. 


kitten. It ran out of the room and after a bit I 
went on playing. ' ' 

To test the extent of the conserved memories still 
further the hand was asked to describe the furnish- 
ings of the room and the plan of the house. It 
wrote : 

"There were two windows on the side of the 
room. The shades were gray, I think, with a border 
of grapes, or something of that color. The carpet 
was green or gray with green figures. There was 
a large old-fashioned sofa between one window and 
the door which led into the dining-room. A book- 
case and desk-combination, you know. There was a 
mantle, I think, between the windows. It was the 
ground floor." 

This childhood episode and the furnishings of the 
room were completely forgotten by B. C. A. in the 
sense that they could not be voluntarily recalled. 
Even after reading the script she could not remem- 
ber them. She had not seen the room since she was 
six years of age, the family having removed at that 
time from the town in which the incident took place. 
As to the accuracy of the "automatic" account and 
the possibility of fabrication, the description of the 
room has been corroborated by the independent and 
written testimony of an older member of the family. 
It was not possible to confirm the incident of the 
kitten as there were no witnesses. This portion of 
the account, therefore, cannot be proved not to be 
a fabrication, but I have never known a fabricated 
statement to be made in this subject's automatic 


script, and I have obtained from her a large number 
of statements of different kinds in the course of 
several years' observation. 

However that may be, the point is not essential, 
for the minute description, by a special technic, of 
the furnishings of a room which had not been seen 
since childhood, a matter of some thirty-five years, 
and which were totally forgotten, is a sufficient 
demonstration of the principle of conservation of 
conscious experiences that cannot be voluntarily 
recalled. The reproduction of the conscious experi- 
ence by automatic writing was, of course, an act 
of memory effected by a special device, and this 
fact compels us to postulate the conservation of the 
experience during this long period of time, notwith- 
standing that the experience could not be recalled 
voluntarily. Although the conserved experience 
could not be awakened into memory by voluntary 
processes of the personal consciousness it could be 
so awakened by an artificial stimulus under artifi- 
cial conditions. 

An observation like this, dealing with the con- 
servation of long forgotten childhood or other ex- 
periences, is not unique. Quite a collection of 
recorded cases might be cited. Mr. C. Lowe 
Dickinson has put on record * one of a young 
woman (Miss C.), who, in an hypnotic trance, nar- 
rated a dream-like fabrication of a highly imagina- 

Journal of the S. P. B., July, 1906. A fuller account of this 
case was later published in the same journal, August, 1911. 


tive character. On one occasion, through the imag- 
inary intermediation of the spirit of a fictitious 
person, who was supposed to have lived in the time 
of Richard II, she gave a great many details about 
the Earl and Countess of Salisbury, "and other 
personages of the time, and about the manners and 
customs of that age. The personages referred to, 
the details given in connection with them, and 
especially the genealogical data, were found on ex- 
amination to be correct, although many of them 
were such as apparently it would not have been 
easy to ascertain without considerable historical 
research." Miss C. after coming out of the hypnotic 
trance was in entire ignorance of how she could 
have obtained this knowledge and could not recall 
ever having read any book which contained the 
information she had given. Through automatic 
writing, however, it was discovered that it was to 
be found in a book called The Countess Maud, by 
E. Holt. It then appeared and this is the point of 
interest bearing on the conservation of forgotten 
knowledge that this book had been read to her by 
her aunt fourteen years previously, when she was 
a child about eleven years old. Both ladies had so 
completely forgotten its contents that they could 
not recall even the period with which it dealt. Here 
were conscious experiences of childhood which, if 
voluntary recollection were to be made use of as a 
test, would be rightly said to have been extin- 
guished, but that they had only lain fallow, con- 


served in some unconscious fashion, was shown by 
their reproduction in the hypnotic trance.* 

In this connection I may instance the case of Mrs. 
C. D., who suffers from a fixed fear of fainting. 
She cannot recall, even after two prolonged search- 
ing examinations, the first occasion when this fear 
developed, or why she has it, and is, therefore, 
ignorant of its genesis. Yet put into abstraction or 
light hypnosis she recalls vividly its first occurrence 
as the effect of an emotional scene of twenty years 
ago. The details of its psychological content come 
clearly into consciousness, and its meaning, as a 
fear of death, is remembered as a part of the ori- 
ginal episode. That the fixed idea is a recurrence or 
partial memory of the original complex becomes 
logically plain and is recognized as such. 

Instances of the reproduction in automatic 
script of forgotten passages from books are to be 
found in Mrs. Verrall's f elaborate records of her 
own automatic writings. Investigation showed that 
numerous pieces of English, Latin, and Greek script 

* A remark made by the subject in the trance state, though passed 
over in the report as apparently inconsequential, has really much 
meaning when interpreted through that conception of the uncon- 
scious memory process which will be developed in succeeding chap- 
ters. The subject, while in the trance, claimed to be in a mental 
world wherein "is to be found, it is said, not only everything that 
has ever happened or will happen, but all thoughts, dreams, and im- 
agination. " In other words, in that psychical condition into which 
she passed, all the conserved conscious experiences of her life could 
be awakened into memory. 

t Proceedings of the 8. P. B., October, 1906, Chap. XII. 


were not original compositions but only forgotten 
passages from authors previously read. 

Mrs. Holland's script records, as investigation 
seemed to show, the exact words expressing a per- 
sonal sentiment contained in a letter written to her 
twenty years before and long forgotten. The letter 
proving this was accidentally discovered.* 

The following instance of a forgotten experience 
is, in itself, common enough with everybody, but its 
recovery by automatic writing illustrates how con- 
servation of the thousand and one simply forgotten 
acts of everyday life may still persist. It forces, 
too, a realization of the reason why it is possible 
that though an act may be forgotten at any given 
moment it may later at any time flash into the mind. 
It is still conserved. 

B. C. A. had been vainly hunting for a bunch of 
keys which she had not seen or thought of for four 
months, having been in Europe. One day, soon 
after her return, while writing a letter to her son 
she was interrupted by her hand automatically and 
spontaneously writing the desired information. 

* In the automatic script, which purported to be a spiritistic mes- 
sage from a dead friend named Annette, occurred the enigmatical 
sentence: "Tell her this comes from the friend who loved cradles 
and cradled things." The meaning of this was revealed by the 
above-mentioned letter to Mrs. Holland, written twenty years pre- 
viously. It was from a friend of Annette's, and quoted an extract 
from Annette's will, which ran, "because I love cradles and cradled 
things." When Mrs. Holland was tearing up some old letters she 
came across this one. (' ' On the automatic writing of Mrs. Holland, ' ' 
by Miss Alice Johnson: Proceedings of the S. P. B., June, 1908, pp. 
288, 289.) 


The letter to her son began as follows: " October 
30, 19 . Dear Boy: I cannot find those keys- 
have hunted everywhere" . . . [Here the hand be- 
gan to write the following, automatically.] "0, I 
know take a pencil" [Here she did as she was 
bidden] "you put those keys in the little box where 
X's watch is." 

In explanation B. C. A. sent me the following 
letter : ' ' The keys were found in the box mentioned. 
I had hunted for them ever since coming home, 
October 4th. One key belonged to my box in the 
safety deposit vault and I had felt very troubled 
and anxious at not being able to find them. I have 
no recollection now of putting them where I found 
them." [Nor was recollection subsequently recov- 

I could give from my own observation if it were 
necessary as many instances as could be desired of 
"automatic" reproductions of forgotten experi- 
ences of one kind or another the truth of which 
could be verified by notebook records or other evi- 
dence. By a forgotten experience of course is 
meant something more than what cannot for the 
moment be voluntarily recalled. I mean something 
that cannot be remembered at any moment nor 
under any conditions, even after the memory has 
been prodded by the reproduction in the script 
something that is apparently absolutely forgotten. 
The experience may not only be of a trivial nature 
but something that happened long in the past and of 
the kind that is ordinarily absolutely forgotten. I 


have often invoked the automatic writing (memor- 
ies) of the subject to recover data elicited in the 
past in psychological examinations but which both 
I and the subject had forgotten. Eeference to notes 
always verified the automatic memories. The 
records of automatic writing to be found in the 
literature are rich in reproductions showing con- 
servation of forgotten experiences. In fact, given a 
good subject who can write automatically it is easy 
to obtain experimentally evidence of this kind at 

Evidence from abstraction. One of the most striking 
of artificial memory performances is the recovery 
of the details of inconsequential experiences of 
everyday life by inducing simple states of abstrac- 
tion in normal people. It is often astonishing to 
see with what detail these experiences are 
conserved. A person may remember any given 
experience in a general way, such as what he does 
during the course of the day, but the minute details 
of the day he ordinarily forgets. Now, if he allows 
himself to fall into a passive state of abstraction, 
simply concentrating his attention upon a particu- 
lar past moment, and gives free rein to all the asso- 
ciative memories belonging to that moment that 
float into his mind, at the same time taking care 
to forego all critical reflection upon them, it will be 
found that the number of details that will be re- 
called will be enormously greater than can be 
recovered by voluntary memory. Memories of the 


details of each successive moment follow one an- 
other in continuous succession. This method re- 
quires some art and practice to be successfully 
carried out. In the state of abstraction attention to 
the environment must be completely excluded and 
concentrated upon the past moments which it is 
desired to recall. For instance, a young woman, a 
university student, had lost some money several 
days before the experiment and desired to learn 
what had become of it. She remembered, in a gen- 
eral way, that she had gone to the bank that day, 
had cashed some checks, made some purchases in 
the shops of the town, returned to the university, 
attended lectures, etc., and later had missed the 
money from her purse. Her memory was about as 
extensive as that of the ordinary person would be 
for similar events after the lapse of several days. 
I put her into a state of abstraction and evoked 
her memories in the way I have just described. The 
minuteness and vividness with which the details of 
each successive act in the day's experiences were 
recovered were remarkable, and, to the subject, quite 
astonishing. As the memories arose she recognized 
them as being accurate, for she then remembered 
the events as having occurred, just as one remem- 
bers any occurrence.* In abstraction, she remem- 
bered with great vividness every detail at the bank- 

* It would have required a stenographer, whom I did not have, to 
record fully all these recovered memories. They would fill several 
printed pages, and I can give only a general r6sum6 of them. Some 
weeks later the experiment was repeated and a record taken as fully 
as possible in long hand. 


teller's window, where she placed her gloves, purse, 
and umbrella, the checks, the money, etc. ; then there 
came memories of seating herself at a table in the 
bank, of placing her umbrella here, her purse there, 
etc. ; of writing a letter, and doing other things ; of 
absent-mindedly forgetting her gloves and leaving 
them on the table ;* of going to a certain shop where, 
after looking at various articles and thinking cer- 
tain thoughts and making certain remarks, she 
finally made certain purchases, giving a certain 
piece of money and receiving the change in coin of 
certain denominations; of seeing in her purse the 
exact denominations of the coins (ten and five- 
dollar gold pieces and the pieces of subsidiary coin- 
age) which remained; then of going to another shop 
and similar experiences. Then of numerous details 
which she had forgotten ; of other later incidents in- 
cluding lectures, exercising in the gymnasium, etc. 
Through it all ran the successive fortunes of her 
purse until the moment came when, looking into 
it, she found one of the five-dollar gold pieces gone. 
It became pretty clear that the piece had disap- 
peared at a moment when the purse was out of her 
possession, a fact which she had not previously re- 
membered but had believed the contrary. The 
hundred and one previously forgotten details which 
surged into her mind as vivid conscious recollec- 
tions would take too long to narrate. 

* Later in the day she discovered the loss of her gloves and, not 
remembering where she had left them, was obliged to retrace her 
steps in search of them. 


(I have made quite a number of experiments of 
this kind with similar results. That the memories 
are not fabrications is shown by the fact that, as 
they arise, they become recollections in the sense 
that the subject can then consciously recall the 
events and place them in time and space as one does 
in ordinary memory, and particularly by the fact 
that many of them are often capable of confirma- 

I would here point out that the recovery of for- 
gotten experiences by the method of abstraction 
differs in one important psychological respect from 
their recovery by automatic writing. In the former 
case the recalled experiences being brought back 
by associative memories enter into the associations 
and become true conscious recollections, like any 
other recollections, while in automatic writing the 
memories are reproduced in script without enter- 
ing the personal consciousness at all and while the 
subject is still in ignorance. Often even after read- 
ing the script his memory still remains a blank. It 
is much as if one's ideas had been preserved on a 
phonographic record and later reproduced without 
awakening a memory of their original occurrence.* 
The significance of this difference for the theory 

* Of course the memories recovered by either method may be 
fabrications as with ordinary voluntary memory, and the automatic 
script may stimulate the conscious memory to recollect the expe- 
riences in question. Nevertheless, while the memories are being re- 
corded by the script, no "conscious" memory is present with sub- 
jects who are unaware of what the hand is writing. 


of conservation I will point out later after we have 
considered some other modes of reproduction.) 

Among the conserved forgotten experiences are 
often to be found fleeting thoughts, ideas, and per- 
ceptions, so insignificant and trifling that it would 
not be expected that they would be remembered. 
Some of them may have entered only the margin or 
fringe of the content of consciousness, and, there- 
fore, the subject was only dimly aware of them. 
Some may have been so far outside the focus of 
awareness that there was no awareness of them at 
all, i. e., they were subconscious. Instructive ex- 
amples of such conserved experiences may be found 
in persons who suffer from attacks of phobia, i. e., 
obsessions. The experiences to which I refer occur 
immediately before and during the attacks. After 
the attack the ideas of these periods are usually 
largely or wholly forgotten, particularly the ideas 
which were in the fringe of consciousness and the 
idea which, according to my observation, was the 
exciting cause of the attack. By the method of 
abstraction I have been able to recover the content 
of consciousness during the periods in question, in- 
cluding the fringe of consciousness, and thus dis- 
cover the nature of the fear of which the patient 
was unaware because the idea was in the fringe. 

Mrs. C. D., whom I have mentioned as having 
suffered intensely from attacks of fear, and Miss 
F. E., who is similarly afflicted with such attacks 
accompanied by the feeling of unreality, are in- 
stances in point. As is well known such attacks 


come on suddenly in the midst of mental tranquil- 
lity, often without apparent cause so far as the pa- 
tient can discover. While in the state of abstraction 
the thoughts, perceptions, and acts of the period 
just preceding and during the attack, as they suc- 
cessively occurred, could be evoked in these sub- 
jects in great detail and with striking vividness. 
The recovery of these memories has been always a 
surprise to the patient who, a moment before, had 
been utterly unable to recall them, and had declared 
the attack had developed without cause. In the case 
of Mrs. C. D. it was discovered in this way the real 
fear was of fainting and death, and in that of Miss 
F. E. of insanity. These ideas having been in the 
fringe of consciousness, or background of the mind, 
the subjects were at the time scarcely aware of 
them and, therefore, were ignorant of the true 
nature of their phobias, notwithstanding the over- 
whelming intensity of the attacks. Among the 
memories recovered in these and other cases I have 
always been able to find one of a thought or of a 
sensory stimulus from the environment which im- 
mediately preceded and which through association 
occasioned the attack. When this particular mem- 
ory was recovered the patient, who had declared 
that the attack had developed without cause, at once 
recognized the original idea which was the cause 
of the attack, just as one recognizes the idea which 
causes one to blush. The idea sometimes has been 
a thought suggested by a casual and apparently in- 
significant word in a sentence occurring in a con- 


versation on indifferent matters, or by a dimly 
conscious perception of the environment, sometimes 
an idea occurring as a secondary train of thought 
perhaps bearing upon some future course of action, 
and so on. 

As instances of such dimly-conscious perceptions 
of the environment which I have found I may men- 
tion a gateway through which the subject was 
passing, or a bridge about to be crossed; these 
particular points in the environment being places 
where previous attacks had occurred. The percep- 
tions which precipitated the attack may have been 
entirely subconscious and yet may be brought back 
to memory. With the pathogenesis of the attacks 
we are not now directly concerned. The point of 
interest for us lies in the fact that such forgotten 
casual ideas and perceptions, some of which had 
been actually subconscious and some had only en- 
tered the margin of the focus of attention may, not- 
withstanding the amnesia, be conserved; and the 
same is true of any succession of trivial ideas occur- 
ring at an inconsequential moment in a person 's life. 

However that may be, if you will try to recall 
in exact detail the thoughts and feelings which suc- 
cessively passed through your mind at any given 
moment say three or four weeks ago or even days 
ago and their accompanying acts, and then (if you 
can do this, which I very much doubt) try to give 
them in their original sequence, I think you will 
realize the force of these observations and appre- 
ciate the significance of the conservation of such 


minute experiences and of their reproduction in 

Evidence furnished by the method of hypnosis. It is al- 
most common knowledge that when a person is 
hypnotized whether lightly or deeply he may be 
able to remember once well-known events of his 
conscious life which he has totally forgotten in the 
full waking state. It is not so generally known that 
he may also be able to recall conscious events of 
which he was never consciously aware, that is to 
say, experiences which were entirely subconscious. 
The same is true, of course, of forgotten experi- 
ences which originally had entered only the margin 
of the content of consciousness and of which he was 
dimly aware. Among the experiences thus recalled 
may be perceptions of minute details of the environ- 
ment which escape the attentive notice of the in- 
dividual, or they may be thoughts which were in 
the background of the mind and, therefore, never 
in the full light of attention. You must not fall into 
the common error of believing every hypnotized per- 
son can do this, or that any person can do it in 
any state of hypnosis. There are various ''de- 
grees" or states of hypnosis representing different 
conditions of dissociation and synthesis. One per- 
son may successively be put into several different 
states ; many persons can be put into only one, but 
the degree of dissociation and capacity for syn- 
thesis in each state and in every person varies very 
much, and, indeed, according to the technical devices 


employed. Each state is apt to exhibit different 
systems of memories, that is, to synthesize (recall) 
past conserved experiences in a different degree. 
What cannot be recalled in one state may be in 
another. We may say as a general principle that 
theoretically any experience that has been con- 
served can be recalled in some state, and, con- 
versely, there is theoretically some state in which 
any conserved experience can be recalled. Practi- 
cally, of course, we can never induce a state which 
synthesizes all conserved experiences, nor always 
one in which any given experience is synthesized. I 
shall later, in connection with particular types of 
conscious states, give examples of hypnotic mem- 
ories showing conservation of such experiences as I 
have just mentioned. The point you will not lose 
sight of is that we are concerned with hypnotic 
phenomena only so far as they may be evidence of 
the conservation of forgotten experiences. 

There is a class of hypnotic memory phenomena 
which acquire additional importance because of the 
bearing they have upon the psycho-genesis of cer- 
tain pathological conditions. They show the con- 
servation of the details of an episode in their 
original chronological order with an exactness that 
is beyond the powers of voluntary memory to repro- 
duce. These phenomena consist of the realistic re- 
production of certain emotional episodes which as 
a whole may or may not be forgotten. The repro- 
duction is realistic in the sense that the episodes 


are acted over again by the individual as if once 
more he were actually experiencing them. Appar- 
ently every detail is reproduced, including the 
emotion with its facial expressions and its other 
physiological manifestations, and pathological dis- 
turbances like pain, paralysis, anesthesia, move- 
ments, etc. I will cite the following three examples : 

M 1, a Russian, living in this country, suffers 

from psycholeptic attacks dating from an episode 
which occurred seven years previously and which 
he has completely forgotten. At that time he was 
living in Russia. It happened that after returning 
from a ball he was sent back late at night by his 
employer, a woman, to look for a ring which she 
had lost in the ballroom. His way led over a lonely 
road by a graveyard. As he was passing this place 
he heard footsteps behind him and became fright- 
ened. Overcome with terror he fell, partially un- 
conscious, and his whole right side became affected 
with spasms and paralysis. He was picked up in 
this condition and taken to a hospital. Each year 
since that time he has had recurring attacks of 
spasms and paralysis.* 

In hypnosis he remembers and relates a dream. 
This dream is one which recurs periodically but is 
forgotten after waking from sleep. This is the 
dream : He is back in his native land ; it is the night 
of the ball; he sees his employer with outstretched 
hand commanding him to go search for the ring. 

* Sidis, Prince, and Linenthal : A contribution to the Patholog7 
of Hysteria, Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, June 23, 1904. 


Once more he makes his way along the lonely road ; 
he hears footsteps; he becomes frightened, falls, 
and then awakes, with entire oblivion for the dream, 
to find his right side paralyzed and in spasms. 

The following experiment is now made. By sug- 
gestion in hypnosis he is made to believe that he 
is fifteen years of age. As a consequence in his 
hypnotic dream he is once more living in Russia 
before he had learned English. It is now found that 
he has spontaneously lost all knowledge of the 
English language and can speak only Russian. He 
is told it is the night of the ball and, as in a dream, 
he is carried successively through the different 
events of that night. Finally he returns in search 
of the ring, passes again over the lonely road, hears 
the footsteps and becomes frightened. At this 
point his face is suddenly contorted with an expres- 
sion of fright, the whole right side becomes para- 
lyzed and anesthetic, and the muscles of face, arm, 
and leg affected with clonic spasms. At the same 
time he moans with pain which he experiences in 
his side, which he hurt when he fell. Though con- 
sciousness is confused he answers questions and 
describes the pain which he feels. On being awak- 
ened all passes off. 

Mrs. W. on her return to Boston after an ab- 
sence in Europe happened to pass by a certain 
house on her way to her hotel; the house (a private 
hospital) was one with which she had very distress- 
ing associations. On leaving the steamer she took 
a street car which she left a block distant from the 


hotel. She walked this distance and as she passed 
the house she was seized with a sudden attack of 
fear, dizziness, palpitation, etc. Although it is 
beside the point I may say that she had not noticed 
the locality and did not consciously recognize the 
house until the attack developed. The attack was, 
therefore, induced by a subconscious perception.* 
She recalls the incident and describes the attack, 
remembers that it occurred at this particular spot, 
but without further detail. 

Now in hypnosis she is taken back to the day of 
her arrival on the steamship. In imagination, as 
in a sort of dream, she is living over again that 
day; she disembarks from the ship, enters the street 
car in which she rides a certain distance ; she leaves 
the car at the point nearest her destination and pro- 
ceeds to walk the remainder of the distance; sud- 
denly her face exhibits the liveliest emotion; she 
becomes strongly agitated and her respiration is 
short and quick ; her head and eyes turn toward the 
left and upward, as if in search of a cause, and 
she exclaims, "Yes, that's it, that's it," as she 
recognizes in imagination the house which had been 
the scene of her previous distress. Then the at- 
tack subsides as she passes by, continuing her way 
toward her hotel. 

Mrs. E. B. suffers from traumatic hysteria as the 

* The Dissociation of a Personality, by Morton Prince. (New 
York; Longmans, Green & Co,, 1906.) P. 77. Hereafter, when this 
work is referred to, the title will be indicated simply by ' ' The Dis- 
sociation. ' ' 


result of a slight but emotional accident a fall 
when alighting from a railway train. The accident 
resulted in a sprained shoulder and neuritis of the 
arm. She fully remembers the accident and de- 
scribes it as any one might. 

When put into hypnosis, however, the memory 
assumes a different character. She is taken back in 
imagination to the scene of the accident. Once 
more the train is entering the station; she leaves 
the car, steps from the platform upon a truck ; then, 
unawares, steps off the truck and falls to the 
ground. As she falls her face suddenly becomes 
distorted with fear; tears stream down her cheeks, 
which become suffused; her heart palpitates; she 
suffers again acute pain in her arm, and so on. Her 
physical and mental anguish is painful to look upon. 
Though I try to persuade her that she is not hurt 
and that the accident is a delusion my effort is not 
very successful. 

In this experiment, as in the others, there is sub- 
stantially a reproduction in all its details of the 
content of consciousness which obtained at the time 
of the accident, and also of the emotion and its phys- 
iological manifestations all were faithfully con- 
served. Further, each event follows in the same 
chronological sequence as in the original experience. 

But in these observations the reproduction differs 
somewhat from that of ordinary memory. It is in 
the form of a dream, hypnotic or normal, and the 
subject goes back to the time of the experience, 
which he thinks is the present, and actually lives 


over again the original episode. Unlike the condi- 
tions of ordinary memory the whole content of his 
consciousness is practically limited to that which 
originally was present, all else, the present and the 
intervening past, being dissociated and excluded. 
The original psychological processes and their 
psycho-physiological accompaniments (pain, paral- 
ysis, anesthesia, spasms, etc.) repeat themselves as 
if the present were the past. Plainly, for such a 
reproduction, the original episode must have left 
conserved dispositions of some kind which when 
excited were capable of reenacting the episode in 
all its psycho-physiological details. From a con- 
sideration of such phenomena it is easy to under- 
stand how certain psycho-neuroses may be properly 
regarded as memories of certain past experiences. 
The experiences are conserved and under certain 
conditions reproduced from time to time. 

I may cite one other experiment dealing with the 
conservation of the details of a day's experiences 
after the lapse of several months. The subject was 
a little girl who suffered from hysterical tics. Hop- 
ing to discover the exciting cause of her nervous 
disturbance, I put her into deep hypnosis, and 
evoked the memories of the events of the day on 
which her disease developed, about six months pre- 
viously. It was astonishing to hear her recall a 
continuous series of precise thoughts and acts, 
many of them trivial, of the kind that would be 
transient and forgotten by anybody. She began 


with the events of the early morning, giving her 
own thoughts and acts; the remarks of her father 
and mother, describing exactly the location in the 
house at the time of each member of the family ; her 
arrival at school; the several lessons of the day; 
the remarks of the teacher; the happenings during 
recess; her final entry into the laboratory; and the 
sudden onset of the tic. Everything was given in 
chronological order. The memories were vivid and, 
as they came up into her mind, were recognized as 
true recollections.* All this was forgotten when 
she was awake, that is to say, although conserved, 
it could not be reproduced. There was no way, of 
course, of determining the accuracy of these mem- 
ories and, therefore, their correctness lacks scien- 
tific proof. On the other hand, the facts, which are 
in entire correspondence with similar results ob- 
tained under conditions where confirmation is possi- 
ble, have value as cumulative evidence.f 

It is not difficult to arrange experiments which 
will test the accuracy with which the minute details 
of experiences may be conserved when reproduction 

* Undoubtedly much was forgotten and, therefore, there must 
have been hiatuses of which she was not aware; but the remarkable 
thing is that not only so much, but so much that was inconsequential 
and evanescent was recalled. If additional technical methods had 
been employed probably more memories could have been recalled. 

f The objection will probably be made that the memories and 
statements of hypnotized persons are unreliable on several grounds, 
chiefly suggestibility, liability to illusions and, in some cases, ten- 
dency to fabrications. This criticism is more likely to come from 
those who have had a special rather than a wide experience with 


is at fault. A simple test is to have a suitable sub- 
ject endeavor to repeat verbatim the contents of a 
letter written by him at some preceding time one 
week, two weeks, a month, or more. Few people, 
of course, can do this. If, now, the subject is a suit- 
able one for the abstraction or hypnotic method it 
may be that he will be able to reproduce by one or 
the other method the test letter, word for word; a 
comparison of the reproduction with the letter will, 
of course, determine the accuracy of the memory. 
In such an experiment I have succeeded in getting 
two subjects, Miss B.* and B. C. A., to repeat ver- 
batim the contents of fairly long letters, and this 
even, on certain occasions, when, on account of the 
subject being a dissociated personality, there was 
no recollection of the letter at all, not even that it 
had been written. Such minute reproduction 
affords further evidence that the conservation of 
experiences may be much more complete and exact 
than ordinary conscious memory would lead us to 

Evidence from hallucinatory phenomena. I may men- 
tion one more example of conservation of a forgot- 
ten experience of everyday life as it is an example 
or mode of reproduction which differs in certain im- 
portant respects both from that of ordinary 
memory and that observed under the artificial 

* Miss B., in these pages, always refers to Miss Beauchamp, an 
account of whose case is given in ' ' The Dissociation. ' ' In this 
connection cf. pp. 501, 81 and 238 of that work. 


methods thus far described. This mode is that of 
a visual or an auditory hallucination which may be 
an exact reproduction in vividness and detail of 
the original experience. It is a type of a certain 
class of memory phenomena. One of my subjects, 
while in a condition of considerable stress of mind 
owing to the recurrence of the anniversary of her 
wedding-day, had a vision of her deceased husband, 
who addressed to her a certain consoling message. 
It afterwards transpired that this message was an 
actual reproduction of the words which a friend, in 
the course of a conversation some months previ- 
ously, had quoted to her as the words of her own 
husband just before his death. In the vision the 
words were put into the mouth of another person, 
the subject's husband, and were actually heard as 
an hallucination. Under the peculiar circumstances 
of their occurrence, however, these words awakened 
no sense of familiarity; nor did she recognize the 
source of the words until the automatic writing, 
which I later obtained, described the circumstances 
and details of the original episode. Then the ori- 
ginal experience came back vividly to memory. On 
the other hand, the "automatic writing" not only 
remembered the experience but recognized the con- 
nection between it and the hallucination. (The 
truth of the writing is corroborated by the written 
testimony of the other party to the conversation.) 
Although such types of hallucinatory memories 
are not actual reproductions of an experience but 
rather translated representations, yet they show 


the experience must have been conserved in order 
to have determined the representation. The actual 
experience, as we shall see later, is translated into 
a visual or auditory form which pictures or verb- 
ally expresses it, as the case may be. This type of 
hallucination is common. That which is translated 
may be previous thoughts, or perceptions received 
through another sense. Thus Mrs. Holland records 
a visual hallucination which pictured a verbal de- 
scription previously narrated to her by a friend, 
but forgotten. The hallucination included "the fig- 
ure of a very tall thin man, dressed in gray, stand- 
ing with his back to the fire. He had a long face, I 
think a mustache certainly no beard and sug- 
gested young middle age." ... On a s'econd occa- 
sion "the tall figure in gray was lying on the bed 
in a very flung-down, slack-jointed attitude. The 
face was turned from me, the right arm hanging 
back across the body which lay on the left side. I 
started violently and my foot seemed to strike an 
empty bottle on the floor. ' ' 

There is very little doubt that these visions of 
Mrs. Holland's represented Mr. Gurney, who had 
died from an accidental dose of chloroform. Mrs. 
Holland "took very little interest" in Mr. Gurney, 
hence she had entirely forgotten that the main facts 
of his death had been told to her a few months pre- 
viously by the narrator, Miss Alice Johnson.* 

In an hallucination of this sort we have a dra- 
matic pictorial representation of previous though 

* Proceedings of the S. P. S., June, 1908. 


forgotten knowledge which must have determined 
it. In order to have determined the hallucination 
the knowledge must have been conserved somehow. 
I have frequently observed a similar reproduction 
of a forgotten experience, which was not visual, 
through translation into a newly created visual 
representation in the form of an artificial hallucina- 
tion. The following is of this kind : Miss B., look- 
ing into a crystal,* saw a scene laid in a wood near 
a lake, etc. Several figures appeared in this scene, 
which was that of a murder. Although she had no 
recollection of anything that could have given rise 
to the hallucination, investigation showed that the 
original experience was to be found in one of Marie 
Correlli's novels which she had read but forgotten. 
The vision was a correct representation of the 
scene as described in the book. 

In suitable subjects almost any past experience, 
whether forgotten or not, can be reproduced in this 
way if conserved, and observation shows that the 
number which are conserved is enormous. I shall 

* Crystal or artificial visions are hallucinatory phenomena which, 
like automatic writing, can be cultivated by some people. The com- 
mon technic is to have a person look into a crystal, at the same time 
concentrating the mind, or putting himself into a state of abstrac- 
tion. Under these conditions the subject sees a vision, i. e., has a 
visual hallucination. The vision may be of some person or place, or 
may represent a scene which may be enacted. Because of the use of 
a crystal such hallucinations are called "crystal visions," but a 
crystal is not requisite; any reflecting surface may be sufficient, or 
even the concentration of the attention. The crystal or other ob- 
ject used of course acts only by aiding the concentration of atten- 
tion and by force of suggestion. The subconscious is tapped. 


have occasion to cite further examples in other con- 
nections. The phenomenon of translation we shall 
find when we come to study it, as we shall do in 
another lecture, throws light upon the nature of 
conservation for here we are dealing with some- 
thing more than simple reproduction; what is con- 
served becomes elaborated into a new composition. 

Evidence obtained from dreams Another not uncom- 
mon mode in which forgotten experiences are re- 
covered is through dreams. The content of the 
dream may, as Freud has shown, be a cryptic and 
symbolical expression or representation of the ex- 
perience,* or a visualized representation or obvious 
symbolism, much as a painted picture may be a 
symbolized expression of an idea,f or it may be 
a realistic reproduction in the sense that the sub- 
ject lives over again the actual experience. A 
relative of mine gave me a very accurate descrip- 
tion of a person whom she had never seen from a 
dream in which he appeared. After describing his 
hair, eyes, contour of face, mouth, etc., she ended 
with the words, "He looks like a cross between a 
Scotchman and an Irishman." After she had most 
positively insisted that she had never seen this 
person or heard him described against my pro- 
test to the contrary I reminded her that I had 
myself described him to her only a few days before 

* Freud : Traumdeutung, 2 aufl. 1909. 

t Morton Prince : The Mechanism and Interpretation of Dreams. 
The Journal of Abnormal Psychology, October-November, 1910. 


identical words, ending my description with 
remark, "He looks like a cross between a 

Scotchman and an Irishman. ' ' Even then she could 
not recall the fact. Von Bechterew has recorded 
the case of a man who frequently after hearing an 
opera dreamed the whole opera through.* One sub- 
ject of mine frequently dreamed over again in very 
minute detail, after an interval of eight or nine 
months, the scenes attending the deathbed of a 
relative. Indeed, in the dream she realistically 
lived them again in a fashion similar to that of 
hypnotic dreams such as I have related. Although 
she had not forgotten these scenes it is highly im- 
probable that she could have voluntarily recalled 
them, particularly after the lapse of so long a time, 
without the aid of the dream, so rich was it in detail, 
with each event in its chronological order. 

Dream reproductions, whether in a symbolic 
form or not, are too common to need further state- 
ment. I would merely point out that the frequency 
with which childhood's experiences occur in dreams 
is further evidence of the conservation of these 
early experiences. The symbolic dream, cryptic or 
obvious, deserves, however, special consideration 
because of the data it offers to the problem of the 
nature of conservation which we shall later study. 
In this type of dream, if the fundamental principle 
of the theory of Freud is correct, the content is a 

* Zentralblatt f iir Nervenheilkunde und Psychiatric ; 1909, Heft 


symbolical continuation in some form of an antece- 
dent thought (experience) of the dreamer.* When 
this thought, which may be forgotten, is recovered 
the symbolic character of the dream, in many cases, 
is recognized beyond reasonable doubtf If this 
principle is well established, and nearly all investi- 
gators are in accord on this point, though we need 
not always accept the given interpretation of in- 
dividual dreams if the principle is sound, then it 
follows that symbolism includes memory of the ori- 
ginal experience which must be conserved. So that 
even this type of dream offers evidence of conserva- 
tion of experiences for which there may be total loss 
of memory (amnesia). 

Before closing this lecture I will return to the 
point which I temporarily passed by, namely, the 
significance of the difference in the form of repro- 
duction according as whether it is by automatic 
writing or through associative memories in abstrac- 
tion. In the latter case, as we have seen, the mem- 
ories are identical in form and principle with those 
of everyday life. They enter the personal con- 
sciousness and become conscious memories in the 
sense that the individual personally remembers the 
experience in question. Abstraction may be re- 
garded simply as a favorable condition or moment 

* According to Freud and his school it is always the imaginary 
fulfilment of a suppressed wish, almost always sexual. For our pur- 
poses it is not necessary to inquire into the correctness of this in- 
terpretation or the details of the Freudian theory. 

f For an example, see p. 98. 


when the subject remembers what he had at another 
previous moment forgotten. We have seen also 
that the same thing is true of remembering in 
hypnosis (excepting those special realistic repro- 
ductions when the subject enters a dream-like or 
somnambulistic state and lives over again the past 
experience in question). In automatic writing, on 
the other hand, the reproduction is by a secondary 
process entirely separate and independent of the 
personal consciousness. In the examples I cited the 
latter was in entire ignorance of the reproduction 
which did not become a personally conscious mem- 
ory. At the very same moment when the experi- 
ences could not be voluntarily remembered, and 
without a change in the moment's consciousness, 
something was tapped, as it were, and thereby they 
were graphically revealed without the knowledge of 
the subject, without memory of them being intro- 
duced into the personal consciousness, and even 
without the subject being able to remember the in- 
cident after reading the automatic script. Even 
this stimulus failed to bring back the desired phase 
of consciousness. It was very much like surrepti- 
tiously inserting your hand into the pocket of an- 
other and secretly withdrawing an object which he 
thinks he has lost. What really happened was this : 
a secondary process was awakened and this process 
(of which the principal or personal consciousness 
was unaware) revealed the memory lost by the per- 
sonal consciousness. At least this is the interprets- 


tion which is the one which all the phenomena of 
this kind pertaining to subconscious manifestations 
compel us to draw.* At any rate the automatic 
script showed that somehow and somewhere outside 
the personal consciousness the experiences were con- 
served and under certain conditions could be repro- 

We now also see that the same principle of repro- 
duction by a secondary process holds in hallucina- 
tory phenomena whether artificial or spontaneous, 
and in many dreams. When a person looking into a 
crystal sees a scene which is a truthful pictorial rep- 
resentation of an actual past experience which he 
does not consciously remember, it follows that that 
visual hallucination must be induced and con- 
structed by some secondary subconscious process 
outside of and independent of the processes in- 
volved in his personal consciousness. And, like- 
wise, when a dream is a translation of a forgotten 
experience into symbolical terms it follows that 
there must be, underlying the dream consciousness, 
some subconscious process which continues and 
translates the original experience into and con- 
structs the dream. 

This being so we are forced to two conclusions: 
first, in all these types of phenomena the secondary 
process must in some way be closely related to the 

* If the physiological interpretation be maintained, i. e., that the 
script was produced by a pure physiological process, this phenomenon 
would be a crucial demonstration of the nature of conservation, that 
it is in the form of physical alterations in nervous structure. I do 
not believe, however, that this interpretation can be maintained. 


original experience in order to reproduce it; and, 
second, a mental experience must be conserved in 
some form which permits of a subconscious process 
reproducing the experience in one or other of the 
various forms in which memory appears. Further 
than this I will not go at present, not until we have 
more extensively reviewed the number and kinds of 
mental experiences that may be conserved. This 
we will do in the next lecture. 



I. Normal Life (Continued) 

I have directed your attention up to this point to 
the conservation of experiences which at the time 
of their occurrence, although lost beyond voluntary 
recall, for the most part occupied the focus of at- 
tention of the individual were within the full light 
of consciousness. If these experiences were the 
only ones which were subject to conservation and 
I would have you still bear in mind that I am using 
the term only in the limited sense of the ability to 
recover an experience in some favorable condition, 
or moment of consciousness, or through some for- 
tunate or technical mode of reproduction if, I say, 
these were the only ones to be conserved, then the 
conservation of the experiences which make up our 
mental lives would be considerably curtailed. It so 
happens, however, that a large part of our mental 
activity is occupied with acts of which at the mo- 
ment we are only dimly aware or half aware in 
that they do not occupy the focus of attention. 
Some of these are what we call absent-minded acts. 
Again, many sensations and perceptions do not en- 



ter the focus of attention, so that we are either not 
aware of them, or, if we are, there is so little vivid- 
ness attached to them that they are almost immedi- 
ately lost to voluntary memory. The same is true 
of certain trains of thoughts which course through 
the mind while one's attention is concentrated on 
some other line of thought. They are sometimes 
described as being in the background of the mind. 
Then, again, we have our dream life, and that of 
reverie, and the important artificial state of hyp- 
nosis ; also certain pathological states to which some 
individuals are subject, such as intoxication, hys- 
terical crises, deliria, and multiple personality. Ac- 
cordingly it is important in any investigation into 
the extent of the field of conservation to inquire 
whether all this mental life "is only fleeting, eva- 
nescent, psychological experience, or whether it is 
subject to the same principle of conservation. If 
the latter be the case it presages consequences 
which are portentous in the possible multiplicity 
and manifoldness of the elements which may enter 
into and may govern the mechanism of mental pro- 
cesses. But let me not get ahead of my exposition. 

Absent-minded acts In a study made some time 
ago I recorded the reproduction, as a crystal vision, 
of an absent-minded act, i. e., one which had not fully 
entered the focus of consciousness during deep con- 
centration of the attention. It is a type of numer- 
ous experiments of this kind that I have made. 
Miss B. is directed to look into a crystal. She sees 


therein a vision of herself walking along a particu- 
lar street in Boston in a brown study. She sees 
herself take out of her pocket some bank notes, tear 
them up, and throw them into the street. Now this 
artificial hallucination, or vision, was a picture of 
an actual occurrence; in an absent-minded reverie 
the subject had actually performed this very act 
under the circumstances portrayed in the vision and 
had retained no memory of it.* 

Similarly I have frequently recovered knowledge 
of the whereabouts of articles mislaid absent- 
mindedly. Sometimes the method used has been, as 
in the above examples, that of crystal gazing or 
artificial hallucinations; sometimes hypnotism, 
sometimes automatic writing, etc. By the last two 
methods not only the forgotten acts but the ideas 
and feelings which were outside the focus of atten- 
tion, but in the fringe of consciousness, and 
prompted the acts are described. It is needless to 
give the details of the observations; it suffices to 
say that each minute detail of the absent-minded 
act and the thoughts and feelings that determined it 
are described or mirrored, as the case may be. The 
point of importance is that concentration of atten- 
tion is not essential for conservation, and, there- 
fore, among the vast mass of the conserved ex- 
periences of life may be found many which, though 

* For a full account of this experiment, see An Experimental 
Study of Visions, Brain, Winter Number, 1898; The Dissociation, 
pp. 81, 82. 


once conscious, only entered the margin of aware- 
ness (not the focus of attention) and never were 
subject to voluntary recollection. In the absence of 
attentive awareness at the time for such an experi- 
ence (and therefore of recollection), we often can 
only be assured that it ever occurred by circumstan- 
tial evidence. When this assurance is wanting we 
are tempted to deny its occurrence and our respon- 
sibility, but experiment shows that the process of 
conservation, like the dictagraph, is a more faithful 
custodian of our experiences than are our volun- 
tary memories. 


Subconscious perceptions It is not difficult to show 
that perceptions of the environment which never 
even entered the fringe of the personal conscious- 
ness, i. e., of which the individual was never even 
dimly aware, may be conserved. Indeed, the dem- 
onstration of their conservation is one of the im- 
portant pieces of evidence for the occurrence of co- 
conscious perception and, therefore, of the splitting 
of consciousness. Mrs. Holland, both by automatic 
writing and in hypnosis, describes perceptions of 
the environment (objects seen, etc.) of which she 
was not aware at the time. Miss B. and B. C. A. re- 
call, in hypnosis and by automatic writing, para- 
graphs in the newspapers read through casual 
glances without awareness thereof. The same is 
true of perceptions of the environment experienced 
under experimental conditions as well as fortui- 
tously. I have made a large number of experiments 


and other observations of this kind, and have been 
in the habit of demonstrating before the students at 
my lectures this evidence of coconscious perception. 
A simple method is to ask a suitable subject to de- 
scribe the dress of some person in the audience, or 
of objects in the environment; if he is unable to do 
this, then to attempt to obtain as minute a descrip- 
tion as possible by automatic writing or verbally 
after he has been hypnotized. It is often quite sur- 
prising to note with what detail the objects which al- 
most entirely escaped conscious observation are sub- 
consciously perceived and remembered. Sometimes 
the descriptions of my students have been quite em- 
barrassing from their na'ive truthfulness to nature. 

The following is an example of such an observa- 
tion: I asked B. C. A. (without warning and after 
having covered her eyes) to describe the dress of a 
friend who was present and with whom she had 
been conversing for perhaps some twenty minutes. 
She was unable to do so beyond saying that he wore 
dark clothes. I then found that I myself was unable 
to give a more detailed description of his dress, al- 
though we had lunched and been together about two 
hours. B. C. A. was then asked to write a descrip- 
tion automatically. Her hand wrote as follows (she 
was unaware that her hand was writing) : 

' ' He has on a dark greenish gray suit, a stripe in 
it little rough stripe; black bow-cravat; shirt with 
three little stripes in it; black laced shoes; false 
teeth; one finger gone; three buttons on his coat." 

The written description was absolutely correct. 


The stripes in the coat were almost invisible. I 
had not noticed his teeth or the loss of a finger and 
we had to count the buttons to make sure of their 
number owing to their partial concealment by the 
folds of the unbuttoned coat. The shoe strings I am 
sure, under the conditions, would have escaped 
nearly everyone's observation. 

Subconscious perceptions even more than absent- 
minded acts offer some of the most interesting phe- 
nomena of conservation, for these phenomena give 
evidence of the ability, under certain conditions, to 
reproduce, in one mode or another, experiences 
which were never a phase of the personal conscious- 
ness, never entered even the fringe of the content 
of this consciousness and of which, therefore, we 
were never aware. For this reason they are not, 
properly speaking, forgotten experiences. Their 
reproduction sometimes produces dramatic effects. 
The following is an instance : B. C. A., waking one 
night out of a sound sleep, saw a vision of a young 
girl dressed in white, standing at the foot of her 
bed. The vision was extraordinarily vivid, the face 
so distinct that she was able to give a detailed de- 
scription of it. She had no recollection of having 
seen the face before, and it awakened no sense of 
familiarity. Suspecting, for certain reasons, the 
figure to be that of a young girl who had recently 
died and whom I knew that B. C. A. had never 
known and was not aware that she had ever seen, I 
placed before her a collection of a dozen or more 
photographs of different people among which was 


one of this girl. This photograph she picked out 
as the one which most resembled the vision (it was 
a poor likeness) and automatic writing confirmed 
most positively the choice. Now it transpired that 
she had passed by this girl on one occasion while 
the latter was talking to me in the hall of my house, 
but she had purposely, for certain reasons, not 
looked at her. Subconsciously, however, she had 
seen her since she could give, both in hypnosis and 
by automatic writing, an accurate account of the 
incident, which I also remembered. B. C. A., how- 
ever, had no recollection of it. The subconscious 
perception was later reproduced (after having 
undergone secondary elaboration) as a vision. 

Similarly I have known paragraphs read in the 
newspapers out of the corner of her eye, so to speak, 
and probably by casual glances, not only, as I have 
said, to be recalled in hypnosis and by automatic 
writing, but to be reproduced with more or less 
elaboration in her dreams. She had, as the evidence 
showed, no awareness at the time of having read 
these paragraphs and no after recollection of the 

Experimentally, as I have said, it is possible to 
demonstrate other phenomena which are the same 
in principle. The experiment consists, after sur- 
reptitiously placing objects under proper precau- 
tions in the peripheral field of vision, in having the 
subject fix his eyes on central vision and his atten- 
tion distracted from the environment by intense 
concentration or reading. Immediately after re- 


moving the objects it is determined that the subject 
did not consciously perceive them. But in hypno- 
sis or by other methods it is found that memory for 
perceptions of the peripheral objects returns, i. e., 
the perceptions are reproduced. Auditory stimuli 
may be used as tests with similar results. 

Likewise, with Miss B., I have frequently ob- 
tained reproductions of perceptions of which at the 
time she was unaware. This has been either under 
similar experimental conditions, or under acciden- 
tal circumstances when I could confirm the accuracy 
of the reproductions. For instance, to cite one out 
of numerous examples, on one occasion I saw her 
pass by in the street while I was standing on the 
door-step of a house some fifteen or twenty feet 
away, well outside the line of her central vision. 
She was in a brown study. I called to her three 
times saying, ' * Good morning, Miss B., ' ' laying the 
accent each time on a different word. She did not 
hear me and later had no recollection of the episode. 
In hypnosis she recalled the circumstances accu- 
rately and reproduced my words with the accents 
properly placed. Such observations and experi- 
ments I have frequently made. They can be varied 
indefinitely in form and condition. 

The phenomenon of subconscious perception of 
sensory stimulations applied to anesthetic areas 
tactile, visual, etc.), in hysterics, first demon- 
strated by Janet, is of the same order, but has been 
so often described that only a reference to it is nec- 
essary. I mention examples here merely that the 


different kinds of phenomena that may be brought 
within the sphere of memory shall be mentioned. 
For instance, Mrs. E. B.* has an hysterical loss of 
sensibility in the hand which, in consequence, can be 
severely pinched or pricked, or an object placed in 
it, etc., without her being aware of the fact. Not- 
withstanding this absence of awareness these tactile 
experiences were conserved since an accurate de- 
tailed memory of them is recovered in hypnosis, or 
manifested through automatic writing. The same 
phenomenon can be demonstrated in Mrs. E., whose 
right arm is anesthetic.! The same conservation of 
subconscious perceptions can be experimentally 
demonstrated during automatic writing. At such 
times the writing hand becomes anesthetic and if a 
screen is interposed so that the subject cannot see 
the hand he is not aware of any stimulations applied 
to it. Nevertheless such sensory stimulations a 
prick or a pinch or more complicated impressions- 
are conserved, for the hand will accurately describe 
all that is done. 

An observation which I made on one of my sub- 
jects probably belongs here rather than to the pre- 
ceding types. Several different objects were suc- 
cessively brought into the field of vision, but so far 
toward the periphery that they could not be suffi- 
ciently clearly seen to be identified. In hypnosis, 
however, they were accurately described, showing 

* The Dissociation, p. 77. 

f For numerous observations of this kind, see Pierre Janet : The 
Mental States of Hystericals. 


the conservation of perceptions that did not enter the 
vivid awareness or clear perception of the subject. 

It is true, as a study of the coconscious would 
show, that such phenomena of anesthesia and un- 
recognized perceptions are dependent upon a dis- 
sociation of consciousness and upon coconscious 
perception. But this is a matter of mechanism with 
which we are not now concerned. The point simply 
is that subconscious perceptions which never en- 
tered the awareness of the personal consciousness 
may be conserved. 

I will cite one more observation, one in which the 
reproduction was through secondary translation, 
as we shall see later that it belongs to a class which 
enables us to determine the nature of conservation. 

B. C. A., actuated by curiosity, looked into a crys- 
tal and saw there some printed words which had no 
meaning for her whatever and awakened no mem- 
ory of any previous experience. It was afterward 
found that these words represented a cablegram 
message which she unconsciously overheard while 
it was being transmitted over the telephone to the 
telegraph office by my secretary in the next room. 
She had no recollection of having heard the words, 
as she was absorbed in reading a book at the time. 
The correctness of the visual reproduction is shown, 
not only by automatic writing which remembered 
and recorded the whole experience, but also by com- 
parison with the original cablegram. 

Again, in other experiments there appear, in the 
crystal, visions rich in detail of persons whom she 


does not remember having seen, although it can be 
proved that she actually has seen them. 

The reproduction of subconscious perceptions and 
forgotten knowledge in dreams, visions, hypnosis, 
trance states, by automatic writing, etc., is interest- 
ing apart from the theory of memory. Facts of 
this kind offer a rational interpretation of many 
well-authenticated phenomena exploited in spiritis- 
tic literature. Much of the surprising information 
given by planchette, table rapping, and similar de- 
vices commonly employed by mediums, depends 
upon the translation of forgotten dormant experi- 
ences into manifestations of this sort. In clinical 
medicine, too, we can often learn, through repro- 
ductions obtained by special methods of investiga- 
tion, the origin of obsessions and other ideas which 
otherwise are unintelligible. 

Dreams and somnambulisms. Many people remember 
their dreams poorly or not at all, and, in the latter 
case, are under the belief that they do not dream. 
But often circumstantial evidence, such as talking 
in their sleep, shows that they do dream. Now, 
though ordinarily they cannot remember the 
dreams, by changing the waking state to an hyp- 
notic one, or through the device of crystal visions or 
automatic writing, it is possible in some people to 
reproduce the whole dream. Amnesia for dreams, 
therefore, cannot be taken as evidence that they do 
not occur, and forgotten dream consciousness is 
subject to the same principles of conservation and 


reproduction as the experiences of waking life. 
Thus in B. C. A. dreams totally forgotten on awak- 
ening are easily recovered in hypnosis and in crys- 
tal visions.* In the case of M 1, which I cited to 

you a little while ago, the forgotten dream in which 
he lived over again the original episode which led to 
the development of his hysterical condition and 
which when repeated in the dream induced each 
successive attack, was easily recovered in hypnosis. 
The same was true of the forgotten dreams of Mrs. 
H. and Miss B. 

The reproduction of nocturnal somnambulistic 
acts and the ideas which occupied the content of 
consciousness of the somnambulist can be effected 
in the same manner. I have quite a collection of 
observation of this kind. In the study of visions,! 
to which I have already referred, may be found the 
observation where Miss B., looking into a crystal, 
sees herself walking in her sleep and hiding some 
money under a tablecloth and books lying on the 
table. The money (which was supposed to have 
been lost) was found where it was seen in the 

In my notebook are the records of numerous arti- 
ficial hallucinations of this kind which reproduce 
sleep-walking acts of B. C. A. To cite one instance : 
in the crystal she sees herself arise from her bed, 
turn on the lights, descend the stairs, enter one of 
the lower rooms, sit by the fire in deep, pensive re- 

* The Mechanism and Interpretation of Dreams, loc. cit. 
f Loc. cit. See p. 51. 


flection, then get up and dance merrily as her som- 
nambulistic mood changes. Presently, as the cine- 
matograph-like picture unfolds itself in the crystal, 
she sees herself go to the writing table, write two 
letters, ascend the stairs, dropping one letter on the 
way,* r center her room, open a glove box, place the 
remaining letter under the gloves, and finally put 
out the lights and get into bed when, with the ad- 
vent of sleep, the vision ends. In the vision the 
changing expression of her face displays each suc- 
cessive mood. In hypnosis also the scene is remem- 
bered and then even the thoughts which accompa- 
nied each act of the somnambulist are described. 
Here again, then, we have evidence that even for- 
gotten dreams and somnambulistic thoughts are not 
lost but under certain special conditions can be re- 
vived in one mode or another. 

II. Forgotten Experiences of Artificial and Pathological 


The experiences that I have thus far cited in evi- 
dence of the principle of the conservation of dor- 
mant experiences that cannot be voluntarily re- 
called have been drawn almost entirely from normal 
everyday life. We now come to a series of facts 
which are very important in that they show that 
what is true of the experiences of everyday life is 
also true of those of artificial and pathological 
states of which the normal personal consciousness 
has no cognizance. These facts are also vital for 

* See Lecture VI, p. 185. 


the comprehension of post-hypnotic phenomena, of 
amnesia, multiple personality, and allied dissoci- 
ated states. Let us consider some of the states 
from the point of view of conservation. 

Artificial states. After a person passes from one 
dissociated state to another, or from a dissociated 
state to the full waking state, it is commonly found 
that there is amnesia for the previous state. This 
is a general principle. The forgetting of dreams is 
an example from normal life. For the psychological 
state of sleep in which dreams occur is one of nor- 
mal dissociation of consciousness by which the per- 
ception of the environment, and the great mass of 
life's experiences, can no longer be brought within 
the content of the dream consciousness. Hence 
there is a general tendency to the development of 
amnesia for dreams after waking when the normal 
synthesis of the personality has been established. 
Yet, as we have seen, forgotten dreams can gener- 
ally be recalled in hypnosis or by some other techni- 
cal method (e. g., crystal visions and abstraction). 
Now hypnosis is an artificially dissociated state. 
After passing from one hypnotic state to another,* 
or after waking, it is very common to find complete 

* Gurney was among the first to demonstrate the induction of 
several states in the same subject. He was able to obtain three dif- 
ferent hypnotic states (Proceedings S. P. K., Vol. IV, p. 515), and 
Mrs. Sidgwick and Miss Johnson eight in one individual, each with 
amnesia for the other. Janet, of course, demonstrated the same 
phenomena. In the cases of Miss B and B. C. A. I obtained a large 
number of such states. 


amnesia for the whole of the experience belonging to 
the previous hypnotic state. By no effort whatso- 
ever can it be recalled and this inability persists 
during the remainder of the life of the subject. And 
yet those hypnotic experiences may have been very 
extensive, particularly if the subject has been hyp- 
notized a great many times. Nevertheless, it is 
easy to demonstrate that they are conserved and 
therefore, like all conserved experiences, potentially 
still existing, subject to recall under favoring con- 
ditions ; for, as is well known, if the subject be re- 
hypnotized they are recalled as normal memories. 
With the restitution of the hypnotic state the mem- 
ories which were dormant become synthesized with 
the hypnotic personality and conscious. 

The method of producing crystal visions may also 
be used to demonstrate the dormant conservation of 
experiences originating in hypnotic states. By this 
method and that of automatic writing, as I have 
already explained, the memories may be made to 
reveal themselves, without inducing recollection, at 
the very moment when the subject cannot voluntar- 
ily recall them. The subject, of course, being ig- 
norant of what happened in hypnosis cannot recog- 
nize the visions as pictorial memories. In illustra- 
tion of this I would recall the observation in the 
case of Miss B. where, in such an artificial vision, 
she saw herself sitting on a sofa smoking a cigar- 
ette.* This vision represented an incident which 

* Morton Prince: The Dissociation, p. 55; also An Experimental 
Study of Visions, Brain, Winter Number, 1898. 


occurred during one of the subject's hypnotic states 
when she had smoked a cigarette. Naturally Miss 
B., in her ignorance of the facts, denied the truth- 
fulness of the vision. Other examples of a like 
kind might be cited if it were necessary. 

By automatic writing, also, evidence of the same 
principle may be obtained. The conserved mem- 
ories are tapped, so to speak. Thus I suggest to 
Mrs. R. in hypnosis that after waking she shall 
write certain verses or sentences. After being 
awakened she reproduces automatically, as di- 
rected, the desired verses or sentences which, of 
course, belonged to her hypnotic experiences.* In 
other words, although the personal consciousness 
did not remember the hypnotic experience of hav- 
ing received the command and of having given the 
promise to write the verses, etc., the automatic writ- 
ing by the act of fulfilling the command showed that 
all this was conserved; here again was evidence of 
conservation, in some form, of an experience at the 
verymomentwhenthe personalconsciousness was un- 
able to voluntarily recall what had taken place in hyp- 
nosis. Such experiments may be varied indefinitely. 

The following is an instance of the same phe- 
nomenon obtained by tapping without the use of 
previous suggestion in hypnosis: subject B. C. A. 
One of the hypnotic states, b, was waked up to be- 
come B, this change being followed, as usual, by am- 

* Some of the Eevelations of Hypnotism, Boston Medical and 
Surgical Journal, May 22, 1890. 


nesia. By means of automatic writing an accurate 
account was now obtained of the experiences which 
had taken place during the previous moments in 
hypnosis, the subject being unaware of what the 
hand wrote. Here were complete memories of the 
whole period of which the personal consciousness, 
B, had no knowledge. One of the most striking, not 
to say dramatic, demonstrations of this kind can 
sometimes be obtained in cases exhibiting several 
different hypnotic states. For instance: "c" and 
"b" are two different hypnotic phases belonging 
to the same individual (B. C. A.), c knows nothing 
of the experiences of b, and b nothing of c, each hav- 
ing amnesia for the other. Now one has only to 
whisper in the ear of c, asking a question of b, and 
at once, by automatic speech, the dormant b phase 
responds, giving such information as is sought in 
proof of the conservation of any given experience 
belonging to the tapped b phase. The consciousness 
of c apparently continues uninterruptedly during 
the experiment. The same evidence could be ob- 
tained by automatic writing under the same condi- 
tions. Again in the b phase another state known as 
"Alpha and Omega" can be tapped, giving similar 
evidence of conservation. In the case of Miss B. 
the same phenomena could be elicited. In this respect 
hypnotic states may show the same behavior as alter- 
nating personalities of which I shall presently speak. 
Suggested post-hypnotic phenomena depend, in 
part, on the conservation of dormant complexes. In 
hypnosis I give a suggestion that the subject on 


waking shall, at a given moment, take a cigarette 
and smoke it. There is thus formed a complex of 
ideas which becomes dormant and forgotten after 
waking. Later, by some mechanism which we need 
not inquire into now, the ideas of the dormant com- 
plex enter the field of the personal self; the idea of 
smoking a cigarette arises therein and the subject 
puts the idea into execution. These consequences of 
the suggestion could not occur unless the expe- 
riences were conserved. Or, we may take an ex- 
periment where the hypnotic experiences are repro- 
duced automatically by writing. Here the conserved 
experiences form a secondary system split off from 
the personal consciousness. This system repro- 
duces the hypnotic experiences as memory outside 
of the personal consciousness. 

From a practical point of view this principle of 
the conservation of the experiences of the hypnotic 
state is of the utmost importance. The fact that a 
person does not remember them on waking if such 
be the case is of little consequence in principle, 
and, practically, this amnesia does not preclude 
these experiences from influencing the waking per- 
sonality. As experiences and potential memories 
they all belong to and are part of the personality. 
The hypnotic experiences being conserved our per- 
sonality may still be modified and determined in its 
judgments, points of view, and attitudes by them, as 
by other unrecognized memories when such modifi- 
cations have been effected in the hypnotic state. 


When the last is the case the hypnotically modified 
judgments, etc., may introduce themselves into 
the content of consciousness in the waking state by 
association without being recognized as memories. 
There may be no recollection of the source of the 
new ideas, of the reason for the modification of a 
given judgment or attitude of mind, because there is 
no recollection of the hypnotic state as a whole; 
but so far as the new judgment or attitude is a re- 
production of an hypnotic experience it is memory, 
although not perfect memory or recollection in the 
sense of localizing the experience in the past. 

This principle can easily be demonstrated experi- 
mentally. It is only necessary, for instance, to state 
to a suitably suggestible subject that the weather, 
with which previously he was discontented is, after 
all, fine; for although it is raining, still, the crops 
need rain ; it will allay the dust and make motoring 
pleasant, it will give him an opportunity to finish 
his neglected correspondence, etc. The whole pros- 
pect, he is told, is pleasing. He accepts, we assume, 
the new point of view. He is then waked up and has 
complete amnesia for the experience. Now these 
ideas, developed in the hypnotic state, are con- 
served as potential memories. Though with the 
change of the moment-consciousness they cannot be 
voluntarily recalled, they have entered into associa- 
tions to form a new viewpoint. Just speak to him 
about the weather and watch the result. His dis- 
content has disappeared and given place to satisfac- 
tion. He expresses himself as quite pleased with 


the weather and gives the same reasons for his sat- 
isfaction as were suggested to and accepted by him 
in hypnosis. He does not recognize his new views 
as reproductions, i. e., memories,. of previous experi- 
ences because he has no recollection of the hypnotic 
state. He does not remember when and how he 
changed his mind; but these experiences have de- 
termined his views because they have become a part 
of his conscious system of thought. The principle 
applies to a large part of our judgments not formed 
in hypnosis. There is nothing very remarkable 
about it. The process is similar to that of ordinary 
thought though it has had an artificial and differ- 
ent origin. The complex of ideas having been 
formed in hypnosis still remains organized and 
some of its elements enter the complexes of the per- 
sonal consciousness, just as in normal life ideas of 
buried experiences of which we have no recollection 
intrude themselves from time to time and shape our 
judgments and the current of our thoughts without 
our realizing what has determined our mental proc- 
esses. We have forgotten the source of our judg- 
ments, but this forgetfulness does not affect the 
mechanism of the process. 

Pathological states In the functional amnesias of 
a pathological character we find the same phenome- 
non of conservation. Various types of amnesia are 
encountered. I will specify only the episodic, 
epochal, and the continuous, so commonly observed 
in hysteria. This field has been threshed over by 


many observers and I need refer only to a few in- 
stances as illustrations. In the first two types the 
experiences which are forgotten may have occurred 
during the previous normal condition. In the epi- 
sodic the particular episode which is forgotten may 
have been, strangely enough, one which from the 
very important part it played in the life of the sub- 
ject and its peculiar impressiveness and signifi- 
cance we should expect would be necessarily remem- 
bered, especially as memory in other respects is nor- 
mal. But for the same reasons it is not surprising 
to find that the experience has been conserved some- 
how and somewhere although it cannot be recalled. 
The classical cases of Fraulein 0. and Lucy E. re- 
ported by Breuer and Freud * are typical. 

From my own collection of cases I will cite the 
following episode from the case of B. C. A. This 
subject received a mental shock as the result of an 
emotional conflict of a distressing character. This 
experience was the exciting factor in the develop- 
ment of her psychosis, a dissociation of personality. 
In the resulting "neurasthenic" state, although her 
memory was normal for all other experiences of her 
life, this particular episode with all its manifold de- 
tails, notwithstanding its great significance in her 
life, completely dropped out of her memory.f 

This incident was a very intimate one and it is 
not necessary to give the details. When put to the 

* Studien iiber Hysteric. 

f Of course I am not discussing here the genetic mechanism of 
the amnesia, being concerned only with the principle of conservation. 


test all effort to recall the episode voluntarily is 
without result, and even suggestions in two hypnotic 
states fail to awaken it in those states. Yet when a 
pencil is put in her hand these memories are made to 
manifest themselves by automatic writing. During 
the writing the subject remains in a perfectly alert 
state but is unaware of what her hand is doing. At a 
later period after the subject had been restored to the 
normal condition she could voluntarily recall these 
memories thus, again, showing their conservation. 

One other example of episodic amnesia I will cite, 
inasmuch as, aside from the question of conserva- 
tion, it is of practical importance, being typical of 
experiences which lead to obsessions of phobia. 
The subject, 0. N., had an intense fear of towers 
such as might contain bells that might ring. She 
had no recollection of the first occasion when the 
fear occurred or of any experience which might 
have given rise to it, and, of course, could give no 
explanation of the obsession. Neither in abstrac- 
tion or hypnosis could any related memories be 
evoked, but by automatic writing she "uncon- 
sciously" described an emotional and dramatic 
scene which was the occasion of the first occurrence 
of the fear and which had taken place some twenty- 
five years previously when she was a young girl. 

With the reason for the amnesia we are not par- 
ticularly concerned at present excepting so far as 
it serves to make clear the distinction between recol- 
lection and conservation, and to throw light on the 
nature of the latter. The episodes in both these in- 


stances were of a strongly emotional character. 
Now we have known for many years from numerous 
observations that emotion tends to disrupt the mind 
and to dissociate the experiences which give rise 
to the affective state so that they cannot be brought 
back into consciousness. We may particularize 
further and, making use of the known impulsive 
force of emotion, attribute the dissociation (or inhi- 
bition) in many cases to a conflict between certain 
ideas belonging to the experience and other oppos- 
ing ideas which, with the emotion, they have awak- 
ened. The impulsive force of the latter ideas, being 
the stronger, dissociates, or, to use the expressive 
term introduced by Freud, represses, the former. 
The principle of dissociation by conflict has been 
formulated and elaborated by Freud in his well- 
known theory which has been made use of to explain 
all functional amnesias. It is not necessary to go as 
far as that, nor does the theory as such concern us 
now. It is sufficient if in certain cases the amnesia 
(or dissociation) is a dissociation (repression) in- 
duced by the conative force of conflicting emotion. 
If so we should expect that the amnesia would be 
of a temporary nature and would continue only so 
long as the conflict and dissociating force continued. 
In any favorable moment when repression ceased or 
failed to be operative, as in hypnosis or abstraction, 
reproduction (recollection) could occur. But this 
requires that the registration of the experience 
should be something specific that can be dissociated 
without obliteration. And, further, it must be some- 


thing that can be so conserved, somehow and some- 
where, during dissociation that, as in the case of 
reproduction by automatic writing, it can escape the 
influence of the repressing force and express itself 
autonomously, i. e., without the expressed memory 
of the experience entering the personal conscious- 
ness. To this we shall return later. 

In the two examples I have cited, if my interpre- 
tation is correct, the amnesia was due to dissocia- 
tion by conflict and hence the conservation, as is the 
rule in functional dissociation, and the reproduc- 
tion by automatic writing. This principle of dis- 
sociation by conflict and of conservation of the dis- 
sociated remembrances is of great practical impor- 
tance as we shall see in later lectures. It can be 
best studied experimentally with cases of multiple 
personality. In the case of Miss B. numerous ex- 
amples of amnesia from conflict were observed. 
Owing to the precise organization of the conscious- 
ness into two distinct personalities it was possible 
to definitely determine beyond question the antago- 
nistic ideas of one personality which voluntarily in- 
duced the conflict and, by the impulsive force of their 
emotion, caused the amnesia in the other personal- 
ity.* The same phenomena were observed in the 
case of B. C. A. As memory for the forgotten expe- 
riences in these instances returned as soon as the 
conflict ceased, conservation of them necessarily 
persisted during the amnesia. 

* The Dissociation, pp. 284-5, 456-9. 


Perhaps I may be permitted to digress here 
slightly to point out that this same (in principle) 
phenomenon may be effected experimentally by sug- 
gestion. The suggested idea which has the force of 
a volition or unexpressed wish, coming in conflict 
with the knowledge of previously familiar facts, in- 
hibits or represses the reproduction in conscious- 
ness of this knowledge as memory. It is easy to 
prove, however, that this knowledge is conserved 
though it cannot be recalled. Thus, I give appro- 
priate suggestions to B. C. A. in hypnosis that she 
shall be unable, when awake, to remember a certain 
unpleasant episode connected with a person named 
"August." After being awakened she has complete 
amnesia, not only for the episode, but even for the 
name. The suppression of the memory of the epi- 
sode carries with it by association the name of the 
person. In fact, the name itself has no meaning for 
her. When asked to give the names of the calendar 
months after mentioning "July" she hesitates, then 
gives "September" as the next. Even when the 
name "August" is mentioned to her it has no mean- 
ing and sounds like a word of a foreign language. 
The memory of the episode has become dormant so 
far as volitional recollection is concerned. It can, 
however, be recalled as a coconscious process 
through automatic writing, as in the preceding ex- 
periment, and then the word in all its meanings and 
associations is also awakened in the coconsciousness. 

The same phenomenon may be observed clini- 
cally in transition types standing halfway between 


the amnesia following emotional episodes and that 
produced by external suggestion. Auto-suggestion 
may then be a factor in the mechanism, as in the 
following example : In a moment of discouragement 
and despair B. C. A., torn by an unsolved problem, 
said to herself after going to bed at night, ' ' I shall 
go to sleep and I shall forget everything, my name 
and everything else. ' ' Of course she did not intend 
or expect to forget literally her name, but she gave 
expression to a petulant despairing conditional wish 
which if fulfilled would be a solution to her prob- 
lem; as much as if she said, "If I should forget who 
I am my troubles would be ended." Nevertheless 
the auto-suggestion with its strong feeling tones 
worked for repression. The next day, when about 
to give her name by telephone, she discovered that 
she had forgotten it. On testing her later I found 
that she could not speak, write, or read her name. 
She could not even understandingly read the same 
word when used with a different signification, i. e., 
stone [her name, we will suppose, is Stone], nor 
the letters of the same. This amnesia persisted for 
three days until removed by my suggestion. That 
the lost knowledge was all the time conserved is 
further shown by the fact that during the amnesia 
the name was remembered in hypnosis and also re- 
produced by automatic writing. 

In the epochal type of amnesia a person, per- 
haps after a shock, suddenly loses all memory for 
lost epochs, it may be for days and even for years of 


his preceding life. In the classical case of Mr. 
Hanna, studied by Boris Sidis, the amnesia was for 
his whole previous life, so that the subject was like 
a new-born child. It is easy to show, however, that 
the forgotten epoch is normally conserved by mak- 
ing use of the various methods of reproduction at 
our disposal. In the case of Hanna, Sidis was able 
through "hypnoidization" and suggestion to bring 
back memory pictures of the amnesic periods. 
''While the subject's attention is thus distracted, 
events, names of persons, of places, sentences, 
phrases, whole paragraphs of books totally lapsed 
from memory, and in language the very words of 
which sounded bizarre to his ears and the meaning 
of which was to him inscrutable all that flashed 
lightning-like on the patient's mind. So successful 
was this method that on one occasion the patient 
was frightened by the flood of memories that rose 
suddenly from the obscure subconscious [uncon- 
scious] regions, deluged his mind, and were ex- 
pressed aloud, only to be forgotten the next moment. 
To the patient himself it appeared as if another be- 
ing took possession of his tongue." 

In another class of cases of epochal amnesia 
known as fugues the subject, having forgotten his 
past life and controlled by fancied ideas, perhaps 
wanders away not knowing who he is or anything of 
the previous associations of his life. The "Lowell 
Case" of amnesia, which I had an opportunity to 

Boris Sidis: The Psychology of Suggestion, p. 224; see also 
Multiple Personality, p. 143. 


carefully observe and which later was more exten- 
sively studied for me by Dr. Coriat, may be in- 
stanced.* A woman suddenly left her home with- 
out apparent rhyme or reason. When later found 
she had lost all recollection of her name, her person- 
ality, her family, and her surroundings, and her iden- 
tity was only accidentally discovered through the pub- 
lication of her photograph in the newspaper. She then 
had almost complete amnesia for her previous life. 

Another case, also studied by Dr. Coriat and the 
writer, was that of a policeman who suddenly de- 
serted his official duty in Boston and went to New 
York, where he wandered about without knowledge 
of who he was, his name, his age, his occupation, in- 
deed, as there is reason to believe, of his past life. 
When he came to himself three days later he found 
himself in a hospital with complete amnesia for the 
three days' fugue. When I examined him some 
days later this amnesia still persisted but Dr. Coriat 
was able to recover memories of his vagrancy in 
New York showing that the experiences of this 
fugue were still conserved. It is hardly necessary 
to remind you that, of course, the memories of his 
normal life which during the fugue it might have 
been thought were lost were shown to have been 
conserved, as on ''coming to himself" they were re- 
covered. In the " Lowell Case" substantially simi- 
lar conditions were found. 

In continuous or anterograde amnesia the subject 
forgets every experience nearly as fast as it hap- 

* The Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol. II, p. 93. 


pens. The classical case of Mme. D., studied by 
Charcot and later more completely by Janet, is an 
example. The conservation of the forgotten experi- 
ences was demonstrated by these authors. 

In multiple personality amnesia for large epochs 
in the subject's life is quite generally a prominent 
feature. In one phase of personality there is no 
knowledge whatsoever of existence in another 
phase. Thus, for instance, all the experiences of 
BI and BIV, in the case of Miss B., were respec- 
tively unknown to the other. When, however, the 
change took place from one personality to the other, 
with accompanying amnesia, all the great mass of 
experiences of the one personality still remained 
organized and conserved during the cycle of the 
other's existence. With the reversion to the first 
personality, whichever it might be, the previously 
formed experiences of that personality became ca- 
pable of manifesting themselves as conscious mem- 
ories. This conservation could also be shown, in 
this case, by the method of tapping the conserved 
memories and producing crystal visions or artificial 
hallucinations. Those who are familiar with the 
published account of the case will remember that 
BIV was in the habit at one time of acquiring knowl- 
edge of the amnesic periods of BI's existence by 
1 1 fixing ' ' her mind and obtaining a visual picture of 
the latter 's acts. Likewise, it will be remembered 
that by crystal visions I was enabled to bring into 
consciousness a vision of the scene at the hospital 


which, through its emotional influence, caused the 
catastrophe of dissociation of personality, and also 
of the scene enacted by BI just preceding the awak- 
ening of BIV, of all of which BIV had no knowl- 
edge.* As with Mr. Hanna sometimes these mem- 
ories instead of being complex pictures were scrappy 
mere flashes in the pan. The same condition of 
conservation of the experiences of one personality 
during the existence of another obtained in the case 
of B. C. A. and numerous cases recorded in the lit- 
erature. In this respect the condition is the same 
as that which obtains in hypnotic states and which I 
mentioned a few moments ago. 

We may, in fact, lay it down as a general law that 
during any dissociated state, no matter how exten- 
sive or how intense the amnesia, all the experiences 
that can be recalled in any other state, whether the 
normal one or another dissociated state, are con- 
served and, theoretically at least, can be made to 
manifest themselves. And, likewise and to the 
same extent, during the normal state the experi- 
ences which belong to a dissociated state are still 
conserved, notwithstanding the existing amnesia for 
those experiences. Furthermore, if we were deal- 
ing with special pathology we would be able to show 
that many pathological phenomena are due to the 
subconscious manifestations of such conserved and 
forgotten experiences. 

Observation shows that the experiences of trance 
states and allied conditions are similarly conserved. 

* The Dissociation, pp. 220, 221, 255, 531, 532. 


Fanny S., as the result of an emotional shock, due 
to a distressing piece of news, goes into a trance- 
like state of which she has no memory afterwards. 
Later, a recollection of this supposedly unconscious 
state, including the content of her trance thoughts 
and the sayings and doings of those about her, is 
recovered by a special device. B. C. A. likewise fell 
into a trance of which there was no recollection. 
The whole incident was equally fully recovered in a 
crystal vision, and also conscious memory of it 
brought back to personal consciousness by a special 
technic. In the vision she saw herself apparently 
unconscious, the various people about her each per- 
forming his part in the episode ; the doctor admin- 
istering a hypodermic dose of medicine, etc. In 
hypnosis she remembered in addition the thoughts 
of the trance consciousness and the various remarks 
made by different people in attendance. 

Even delirious states for which there is complete 
amnesia may be conserved. I have observed numer- 
ous instances of this in the case of Miss B. For in- 
stance, the delirious acts occurring in the course of 
pneumonia were reproduced in a crystal vision by 
Miss B. and the delirious thoughts as well were re- 
membered by the secondary personality, Sally.* I 
have records of several examples of conservation 
of delirium in this case. Quite interesting was the 
repetition of the same delirium due to ether narcosis 
in succeeding states of narcosis as frequently hap- 
pened. A very curious phenomenon of the same or- 

* The Dissociation, p. 83. 


der was the following: After the subject had been 
etherized a number of times I adopted the ruse of 
pretending to etherize one of the secondary per- 
sonalities, using the customary inhaler but without 
ether. The efficient factor was, of course, sugges- 
tion. The subject would, at least apparently, be- 
come unconscious, passing into a state which had all 
the superficial appearances of deep etherization. At 
the end of the procedure she would slowly return to 
consciousness, repeat the same stereotyped exple- 
tives and other expressions which she regularly 
made use of when ether was actually used, and make 
the same grimaces and signs of discomfort, etc. 
This behavior would seem to indicate that the mental 
and physical experiences originally induced by a 
physical agent were conserved and later reproduced 
under imaginary conditions. 

Mental experiences formed in states of alcoholic 
intoxication without delirium may be conserved as 
dormant complexes. Dr. Isador Coriat,* in his 
studies of alcoholic amnesia, was able to restore 
memories of experiences occurring during the alco- 
holic state showing that they were still conserved. 
The person, during the period for which later there 
is amnesia, may or may not be what is ordinarily 
called drunk, although under the influence of alco- 
hol. Later, when he comes to himself, he is found to 
have forgotten the whole alcoholic period perhaps 
several days or a week during which he may have 
acted with apparently ordinary intelligence, and 

* The Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol. I, No. 3. 


perhaps have committed criminal acts. By one or 
another of several technical methods memory of the 
forgotten period may often be recalled. Dr. C. W. 
Pilgrim * also has reported two cases of this kind in 
which he succeeded in restoring the memories of the 
forgotten alcoholic state. I might also recall here 
the case, cited by Ribot, of the Irish porter who, 
having lost a package while drunk, got drunk again 
and remembered where he had left it. 

Of course, in order to demonstrate the conserva- 
tion of forgotten experiences it is necessary, when 
abstraction is not sufficient, to employ subjects in 
whom more profound dissociation of consciousness 
can be produced by one or another of the artificial 
means described so as to permit of the reproduction 
of the hidden (conserved) experiences of mental 
life. Such subjects, however, are sufficiently com- 
mon. Often the passive state of abstraction after 
some practice is sufficient. 


Although in the above resume of the phenomena 
of memory I have for the most part made use of 
personal observations, these, so far as the phenom- 
ena themselves are concerned, are in accord with 
those of other observers. It would have been easy 
to have drawn for corroboration upon the writings 
of Gurney, Janet, Charcot, Breuer, Freud, Sidis, 
Coriat, and others. 

* American Journal of Insanity, July, 1910. 


A survey of all the facts which I have outlined h* 
this lecture forces us to ask ourselves the question : 
To what extent are life's experiences conserved? 
Indeed it was to meet this question that I have re- 
viewed so large a variety of forgotten experiences 
which experiment or observation in individual cases 
has shown to be conserved. If my aim had been to 
show simply that an experience, which has been lost 
beyond all possible voluntary recall, may still be 
within the power of reproduction when special de- 
vices adapted to the purpose are employed, it would 
not have been necessary to cover such a wide field 
of inquiry. To meet the wider question it was 
necessary to go farther afield and examine a large 
variety of experiences occurring in multiform con- 
ditions of mental life. 

After doing this the important principle is forced 
upon us in strong relief that it matters not in what 
period of life, or in what state, experiences have 
occurred, or how long a time has intervened since 
their occurrence ; they may still be conserved. They 
become dormant, but under favorable conditions 
they may be awakened and may enter conscious life. 
We have seen, even by the few examples I have 
given, that childhood experiences that are supposed 
to have long been buried in oblivion may be con- 
served. We -have seen that the mental life of arti- 
ficial and pathological states is subject to the same 
principle; that the experiences of hypnosis, trance 
states, deliria, intoxication, dissociated personality 
though there may be absolute amnesia in the nor- 


mal waking state for them may still be capable 
of reproduction as memory. Yet of the vast num- 
ber of mental experiences which we have during the 
course of our lives we can voluntarily recall but a 
fractional part. What proportion of the others is 
conserved is difficult, if not impossible, to determine. 
The difficulty is largely a practical one due to the 
inadequacy of our technical methods of investiga- 
tion. In the first place, our technic is only applica- 
ble to a limited number of persons. In the second 
place, it is obvious that when an episode occurring 
in the course of everyday life is forgotten, but is 
recovered under one or another of the conditions I 
have described, it is only in a minority of instances 
that circumstances will permit confirmation of this 
evidence by collateral and independent testimony. 
Still, if we take the evidence as a whole its cumula- 
tive force is such as to compel the conviction that 
a vast number of experiences, more than we can 
possibly voluntarily recall, are conserved, and that 
it is impossible to affirm that any given experience 
may not persist in a dormant state. It is impossible 
to say what experiences of our daily life have failed 
to be conserved and what are awaiting only a favor- 
able condition of reproduction to be stimulated into 
activity as memory. Even if they cannot be repro- 
duced by voluntary effort, or by some one particular 
device, they may be by another and, if all devices 
fail, they may be recovered in pathological condi- 
tions like delirium, trance, spontaneous hallucina- 
tions, etc., or in normal dissociated states like 


dreams. The inability to recall an experience is no 
evidence whatever that it is not conserved. Indeed, 
even when the special methods and moments fail it 
is still not always possible to say that it is not con- 

It would be a gross exaggeration to say, on the 
basis of the evidence at our disposal, that all life's 
experiences persist as potential memories, or even 
that this -is true of the greater number. It is, how- 
ever, undoubtedly true that of the great mass of 
experiences which have passed out of all voluntary 
recollection, an almost incredible, even if relatively 
small, number still lie dormant, and, under favoring 
conditions, many can be brought within the field of 
conscious memory. The significance of this fact 
will become apparent to us later after we have 
studied the nature of conservation. Still more sig- 
nificant, particularly for abnormal psychology, is 
the fact we have brought out by our technical meth- 
ods of investigation; namely, that almost any con- 
served experience under certain conditions can 
function as a subconscious memory and become 
translated into, i.e., produce sensory and motor 
automatic phenomena, such as hallucinations, writ- 
ing, speech, etc. It will not be surprising if we shall 
find that various other disturbances of mind and 
body are produced by such subconscious processes. 

Two striking facts brought out by some of these 
investigations are the minuteness of the details 
with which forgotten experiences may be conserved 
and the long periods of time during which conserva- 


tion may persist. Thus, as we have seen, experi- 
ences dating back to early childhood may be shown 
to be preserved in extremely minute detail though 
the individual has long forgotten them. Further- 
more, it has been shown that even remembered 
experiences may be conserved in far more elaborate 
detail than would appear from so much of the 
experience as can be voluntarily recalled. Prob- 
ably our voluntary memory is not absolutely perfect 
for any experience in all its details but the details 
that are conserved often far exceed those that can 
be recalled. 

In the survey of life's experiences which we have 
studied we have, for the most part, considered those 
which have had objective relation and have been 
subject to confirmation by collateral testimony. But 
we should not overlook the fact that among mental 
experiences are those of the inner as well as outer 
life. To the former belong the hopes and aspira- 
tions, the regrets, the fears, the doubts, the self- 
communings and wrestlings with self, the wishes, 
the loves, the hates, all that we are not willing to 
give out to the world, and all that we would forget 
and would strive not to admit to ourselves. All this 
inner life belongs to our experience and is subject 
to the same law of conservation. 

Finally, it should be said that much of what is 
not ordinarily regarded as memory is made up of 
conserved experiences. A large part of every men- 
tal content is memory the source of which is for- 
gotten. Just as our vocabulary is memory, though 


we do not remember how and where it was acquired, 
so our judgments, beliefs, and opinions are in large 
part made up of past experiences which are for- 
gotten but which have left their traces as integral 
parts of concepts ingrained in our personalities. 


A consideration of all the facts of observation 
and experiment of the kind which I have recited in 
the last two lectures and I might have multiplied 
them many times forces us to the conclusion that 
whether or not we can recall any given experience 
it may be still conserved. Bear in mind that I have 
used conservation, thus far, only in the sense that 
under favoring changes in the moment's conscious- 
ness, or by special methods of stimulation, a past 
experience may reproduce itself, or may be made 
to reproduce itself, in one form or another of 

It may be, for example, that you have to-day only 
a vague and general recollection of the last lecture 
and if you should endeavor to write an account of 
it from memory the result would be but a fragmen- 
tary report. And yet it is quite possible that, if 
one or another of the various technical methods I 
have described could be applied to some one of you, 
we should be able to recover quite exact memories, 
of certain portions at least, of the lecture perhaps 
verbatim transcripts of certain portions, and large 



numbers of facts which are quite beyond your pres- 
ent recollection. 

Our study of those phenomena of memory which 
I cited in the last lecture was carried only so far 
as to allow us to draw the conclusions as to con- 
servation which I have just stated. And, in draw- 
ing these conclusions, let me repeat we have pro- 
visionally limited the meaning of the term conserva- 
tion simply to the potential ability to reproduce ex- 
periences, with or without recollection, either in 
their original form, or translated into a graphic, 
visual, or auditory expression of them. We have 
not attempted from these phenomena to draw con- 
clusions as to the nature of conservation, or as to 
whether it is anything apart from reproduction 
under favorable conditions. If we do not look be- 
low the surface of the phenomena it might be held 
that memory is only a recurrent phase of conscious- 
ness, and that the term conservation is only a figure 
of speech to express the ability to determine that 
recurrence in our self-consciousness. 

Let us examine now a little more closely some of 
the phenomena we have already examined but in- 

Residual processes underlying automatic motor phe- 
nomena: writing, speech, gestures, etc. We will take 
writing as a type and the following as an example : 
In a state of hypnosis a subject learns a verse by 
heart. It is then suggested that this verse shall 
be written automatically after he has been awak- 


ened. (By arranging the conditions of the experi- 
ment in this way we make certain that the script 
afterwards written shall express a memory and 
not a fabrication.) After the subject returns to 
the normal waking state he has complete amnesia 
for the whole hypnotic state and therefore for the 
verse. Now, if the experiment is successful, his 
hand writes the given verse without the subject 
being aware of what his hand is writing, and it may 
be without being aware that his hand is writing 
anything at all. The whole thing has been done 
without participation of his consciousness and with- 
out his knowing that any such phenomenon was to 
occur. (Of course any of his conscious experiences 
while in the hypnotic state might have been used 
as a test, these being known to the experimenter 
as well.) Now the things to be noted are: 

1, that the script expresses a memory; that is, 
reproduces previous conserved conscious ideas the 
verse. It expresses memory just exactly as it would 
express it if it had been consciously and voluntarily 

2, that these ideas while in a state of conservation 
and without entering consciousness i. e., becoming 
conscious memory express themselves in written 

3, that this occurs while the subject has complete 
amnesia for the conserved ideas and therefore he 
could not possibly reproduce them as conscious 

4, that that which effects the writing is not a 


recurring phase of the self -consciousness which is 
concerned at the moment with totally different ideas. 

5, that the " state of conservation" is, at least 
during the writing, a specific state existing and 
functioning independently and outside of the per- 
sonal self-consciousness. 

6, that in functioning it induces specific processes 
which make use of the same organized physiological 
mechanisms which ordinarily are made use of by 
conscious memory to express itself in writing and 
that these processes are not in, but independent of, 

We are forced to conclude therefore that a con- 
scious experience in this case the ideas of the verse 
is conserved through the medium of some kind of 
residuum of itself capable of specific functioning 
and inducing processes which reproduce in the form 
of written symbols the ideas of the original experi- 

We need not consider for the present the nature 
of the residuum, and its process, whether it is the 
ideas themselves or something else. 

Kesidual processes underlying hallucinations. We will 
take the observation of B. C. A. looking into a 
crystal and reading some printed words a cable- 
gram which she had previously unconsciously 
overheard.* The words were, let us say, "Best 
Wishes and a Happy New Year." This visual pic- 
ture was not a literal reproduction of the original 

* Lecture III, p. 58. 


experience, which was a subconscious auditory ex- 
perience of the same words, of which she was not 
aware; but plainly, nevertheless, the visual picture 
must have been determined somehow by the audi- 
tory experience. Equally plainly the visual image 
was not a recurrent phase of the consciousness, for 
the words of the message had not been previously 
seen. What occurred was this : the antecedent audi- 
tory perception manifested itself in consciousness 
after an interval of time as a visual hallucination 
of the words. There was a reproduction of the 
original experience but not in its original form. It 
had undergone a secondary alteration by which the 
visual perception replaced the auditory perception. 
As a memory it was a conversion or translation of 
an auditory experience into terms of another sense. 
Now the conversion must have been effected by 
some mechanism outside of consciousness; that is 
to say, it was not an ordinary visualization, i. e., 
intensely vivid secondary images pertaining to a 
conscious memory, as when one thinks of the morn- 
ing's breakfast table and visualizes it; for there 
was no conscious memory of the words, or knowl- 
edge that there ever had been such an experience. 
The visualization therefore must have been induced 
by something not in the content of consciousness, 
something we have called a secondary process, of 
which the individual is unaware. 

We can conceive of the phenomenon originating 
in either one of two possible modes. Either the 
hallucination was a newly fabricated conscious ex- 


perience; or it was a reproduction of secondary 
visual images originally belonging to the auditory 
perception at the time of its occurrence and now 
thrust into consciousness in an intensely vivid form. 
In either case, for this to have taken place some- 
thing must have been left by the original experience 
and conserved apart from and independent of the 
content of the personal consciousness at any and 
all moments something capable of functioning 
after an interval of time as a secondary process out- 
side of the personal consciousness. The only in- 
telligible explanation of the phenomenon is that the 
original auditory impression persisted, somehow 
and somewhere, in a form capable of conservation 
as a specific and independent residuum during, all 
subsequent changes in the content of consciousness. 
This residuum either fabricated the hallucination 
or thrust its secondary images into consciousness 
to become the hallucination. 

The phenomenon by itself does not permit a con- 
clusion as to the nature of the residuum, whether 
it is psychological or neural ; i. e., whether an audi- 
tory perception, as perception, still persists sub- 
consciously outside the focus of awareness of 
consciousness, or whether it has left an alteration of 
some kind in the neurons. Whatever the inner na- 
ture of the conserved experience it obviously must 
have a very specific and independent existence, 
somehow and somewhere, outside of the awareness 
of consciousness, and one capable of secondary 
functioning in a way that can reproduce the orig- 


inal experience in terms of another sense. In other 
words, conservation must be in the form of some 
kind of residuum, psychological or neural. It must 
be, therefore, something very different from 
reproduction or a recurrent phase of conscious- 
ness. Further, it must form a stage in the proc- 
ess of memory of which reproduction is the final 

This observation of course does not stand alone. 
I have cited a number of observations and might 
cite many more in which the same phenomenon of 
transformation or conversion of sensory images of 
one sense into images of another sense was promi- 
nent. Indeed a study of hallucinations, artificial or 
spontaneous, which are representations of former 
experiences and where the determining factors can 
be ascertained, will show that in most, if not all, of 
them this same mechanism of conversion is at work. 
Take, for instance, the experiment cited in our last 
lecture, the one in which Miss B. was directed to 
look into a crystal for the purpose of discovering 
the whereabouts of some money she had lost without 
being aware of the fact. In the crystal she sees a 
vision of herself walking along a particular street 
in Boston absorbed in thought. She sees herself in 
a moment of absent-mindedness take some bank- 
notes out of her pocket, tear them up, and throw 
them into the street. 

Now this artificial hallucination was, as we have 
seen, a picture of an actual occurrence for which 
there was amnesia. It must, therefore, have been 


determined by that experience. The psychological 
phenomena manifested, however, were really much 
more complicated than would appear at first sight. 
An analysis of this vision, which unfolded itself like 
a cinematograph picture, would show that it was a 
composite visual representation of several different 
kinds of experiences of past perceptions of her 
body and face, of her conscious knowledge of her 
relation to the environment (in the street), of mus- 
cular movements, and of her knowledge derived 
from subconscious tactile impressions of the act. 
Of these last she was not aware at the time of their 
occurrence. Much of this knowledge must have 
persisted as a residuum of the original experience 
and functioned subconsciously. Thereby, perhaps, 
the original secondary visual images were repro- 
duced and emerged into consciousness as the hallu- 
cination or pictorial memory. 

Similar phenomena indicative of conservation 
being effected by means of a residuum of the orig- 
inal experience may be produced experimentally 
in various ways. For instance, in certain hysterics 
with anesthesia if you prick a number of times a 
part of the body say the hand in which all tactile 
sensation has been lost, and later direct the subject 
to look into a crystal, he will see a number, perhaps 
written on a hand. This number, let us say five, will 
correctly designate the number of times the hand 
was pricked. Now, because of the loss of sensibility, 
the subject was unaware of the pin-pricks. Never- 
theless, of course, they were recorded subcon- 


sciously, coconsciously). Their subsequent trans- 
formation into a visual hallucination not only shows 
that they were conserved, but that they left some- 
thing which was capable of taking part, outside 
of consciousness, in a secondary process which gave 
rise to the hallucination. 

An examination of all crystal visions, so far as 
they are translated memories of actual experiences, 
will show this same evidence for a conserved resi- 

That conservation is not merely a figure of speech 
to express the ability to determine the recurrence 
of a previous experience, but means a specific re- 
siduum capable of independent and elaborate func- 
tioning, is brought out more conspicuously in those 
visions which are elaborately fabricated symbol- 
isms of an antecedent experience. In other words, 
the vision is not a literal recurrence of a previous 
phase of consciousness, in that the latter has been 
worked over, so to speak, so as to appear in con- 
sciousness in a reconstructed form. Though recon- 
structed it either still retains its original meaning 
or is worked out to a completion of its thoughts, or 
to a fulfilment of the emotional strivings pertaining 
to them (anxieties, wishes, etc.). These visions, 
perhaps, more frequently occur spontaneously, 
often at moments of crises in a person's life, but 
also are observed under experimental conditions. 
Sometimes they answer the doubts, scruples and 
other problems which have troubled the subject, 
sometimes they express the imaginary fulfilment of 


intense longings or of anxieties and dreads which 
have been entertained, or disturbing thoughts which 
have pricked the conscience.* We are obliged to 
conclude, in the light of experimental observations 
of the same class, that such phenomena are deter- 
mined by the specific residua of antecedent thoughts 
which must be conserved and function in a specific 
manner to appear in this metamorphosed form. 

Similar residual processes underlying post-hypnotic phe- 
nomena. Conserved experiences which give rise to 
more complicated secondary elaboration may be 
observed in suggested post-hypnotic phenomena. 
Experiments of this kind may be varied in many 
ways. The phenomenon may be an hallucination 
similar to the one I have just described in hysterics, 
or a so-called subconscious calculation. You sug- 
gest in hypnosis to a suitable subject that he 
shall multiply certain numbers, or calculate the 
number of seconds intervening between certain 
hours let us say between 10 :43 and 5 :13 o 'clock 
the answer to be given in writing on a certain day. 
The subject is then awakened immediately, before 
he has time to do the calculation while in hypnosis. 
Later, if the experiment is successful, at the time 
designated the subject will absent-mindedly or auto- 
matically write the figures giving the answer. 

There are two modes in which these calculations 
may be accomplished. In a special and limited class 
of cases, where there is a large split-off subconscious 

* For specific instances, see Lecture VII. 


personality, or doubling of consciousness, the cal- 
culation may be made entirely by this secondary 
subconscious self, in the same fashion as it would be 
made by the principal personality if the problem 
were given in the waking state. The subconscious 
personality will go through each conscious step in 
the calculation in the same way.* In a second class 
of cases the calculations are worked out, apparently, 
unconsciously, without participation in the process 
by a subconscious personality even when such exists. 
At most it would seem that isolated numbers repre- 
senting different steps in the calculation arise from 
time to time coconsciously as a limited secondary 
consciousness (of which the personal consciousness 
is unaware) until finally the figures of the com- 
pleted answer appear therein. The calculation it- 
self appears to be still another process outside 
both the personal and the secondary consciousness. 
When the problem has been finished the answer is 
finally given automatically. The whole process is 
too complicated to go into at this time before we 
have studied the problems of the coconscious.f 
It is enough to say that it plain that the hypnotic 
experience the suggested problem must be con- 
sidered as some kind of specific residuum, psy- 
chological or neural, and that this residuum must be 
one capable of quite elaborate independent and sub- 
conscious intellectual activity before finally becom- 
ing transformed into the final answer. 

* Morton Prince : Experimental Evidence for Coconscious Idea- 
tion, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, April-May, 1908. 
f For further details, see Lecture VI, p. 169. 


Kesidual processes underlying dreams When citing 
the evidence of dreams for the conservation of for- 
gotten experiences I spoke of one type of dream as 
a symbolical memory. I may now add it is more 
than this; it is a fabrication. The original experi- 
ence or thought may appear in the dream after 
being worked over into a fantasy, allegory, sym- 
bolism, or other product of imagination. Such a 
dream is not a recurrent phase of consciousness, but 
a newly fabricated phase. Further, analytical and 
experimental researches go to show that the fabri- 
cation is performed by the original phase without 
the latter recurring in the content of the personal 
consciousness. The original phase must therefore 
have been conserved in some form capable of such 
independent and specific functioning, i. e., fabrica- 
tion below the threshold of consciousness. For in- 
stance : 

The subject dreamed that she was standing where two roads 
separated. One was broad and bright and beautiful, and many 
people she knew were going that way. The other road was the 
rocky path, quite dark, and no one was going that way, but she 
had to go. And she said, "Oh, why must I go this way? Will no 
one go with me ?" And a voice replied, "I will go with you." She 
looked around, and there were some tall black figures; they all 
had names across their foreheads in bright letters, and the one 
who spoke was Disappointment ; and all the others said, "We will 
go with you," and they were Sorrow, Loss, Pain, Fear, and Lone- 
liness, and she fell down on her face in anguish. 

Now an analysis of the antecedent thought of this 
subject and a knowledge of her circumstances and 
mental life, though we cannot go into them here, 
make it perfectly clear that as a fact, whether there 


was any causal connection or not, this dream was 
a symbolic expression of those thoughts. The rocky 
path has been shown to be symbolic of her concep- 
tion of her own life entertained through years the 
other road symbolic of the life longed for and 
imagined as granted to others. Likewise the rest 
of the dream symbolized, in a way which any one 
can easily recognize, the lot which she had in her 
disappointment actually fancied was hers. The 
thoughts thus symbolized had been constantly recur- 
ring thoughts and therefore had been conserved. 
They were reproduced in the dream, not in their 
original form, but translated into symbols and an 
allegory. Something must, therefore, have effected 
the translation. In other words, the dream is not 
a recurrent phase of consciousness but an allegori- 
cal fabrication which expresses these thoughts, not 
literally as they originally occurred, but in the form 
of an imaginative story. Now the similarity of the 
allegorical dream thoughts to the original thoughts 
can be explained only in two ways: either as pure 
chance coincidence, or through a relation of cause 
and effect. In the latter case the dream might have 
been determined either by the specific antecedent 
thoughts in question those revealed as memories 
in the analysis, or both series might have been deter- 
mined by a third, as yet unrevealed, series. For 
the purposes of the present problem it is immaterial 
which so long as the dream was determined by some 
antecedent thought. The very great frequency, not 
to say universality, with which this same similarity 


or a logical relation with antecedent thoughts is 
found in dreams after analysis renders chance coin- 
cidence very improbable. We must believe, there- 
fore, that the dream was determined by antecedent 
experiences. It is beyond my purpose to enter here 
into an exposition of the theory of the mechanism 
of dreams, although I shall touch upon it later in 
some detail in connection with subconscious proc- 
esses. We need here only concern ourselves with 
this mechanism so far as it bears upon the principle 
of conservation. Suffice it to say that analytical 
observations (Freud) have, it seems to me, conclu- 
sively shown that conserved experiences may be not 
only the determining factors in dreams, but that 
while in a state of conservation they are capable of 
undergoing elaborate fabrication and afterwards 
appearing so thoroughly transformed in conscious- 
ness as not to be superficially recognisable. I have 
also been able to reach the same conclusions by the 
method of experimental production of dreams. 

The only question is, in what form can a thought 
be so conserved that it can, while still in a state 
of conservation, without itself rising into conscious- 
ness, fabricate a symbolism, allegory, or other work 
requiring imagination and reasoning? The only 
logical and intelligible inference is that the antece- 
dent conscious experience has been either itself spe- 
cifically conserved as such outside of the personal 
consciousness, or has left some neural residuum or 
disposition capable of functioning and constructing 
the conscious dream fabrication. 


Residual processes underlying physiological bodily dis- 
turbances. Before proceeding further I would invite 
your attention to another class of facts as these 
facts must be taken into consideration in any theory 
of conservation. These facts show that the residua 
can, by subconscious functioning, induce physiologi- 
cal bodily manifestations without reproducing the 
original mental experience as conscious memory. 
In certain abnormal conditions of the nervous sys- 
tem, i. e., in certain psychoneuroses, we meet with 
certain involuntary actions of the limbs or muscles 
known as spasms and contractures ; also with cer- 
tain impairment of functions such as blindness, 
deafness, loss of sensation (anesthesia), paralysis, 
etc. These disturbances are purely functional, 
meaning that they are not due to any organic dis- 
ease. Now the evidence seems to be conclusive that 
these physiological disturbances are caused some- 
times by ideas after they have passed out of con- 
sciousness and become, as ideas, dormant, i. e., while 
they are in a state of conservation and have ceased 
to be ideas or, at least, ideas of which the subject 
is aware. A moment's consideration will convince 
you that this means that ideas, or, at least, expe- 
riences in a state of conservation, and without be- 
ing reproduced as conscious memory, can so func- 
tion as to affect the body in one or other of the 
ways I have mentioned. To do this they must exist 
in some specific form that is independent of the per- 
sonal consciousness of the moment. To take, for 

IJPKA !^ v 
OF r T 



example, an actual case which I have elsewhere 
described : 

B. C. A., in a dream, had a visual hallucination of 
a flash of light which revealed a scene in a cave and 
which was followed by blindness such as would 
physiologically follow a tremendous flash. In the 
dream she is warned that if she looks into the cave, 
she will be blinded. She looks; there is a blinding 
flash and loss of vision follows; after waking she 
was still partially blind, but she continued from 
time to time to see momentary flashes of light re- 
vealing certain of the objects seen in the dream in 
the cave, and these flashes would be succeeded tem- 
porarily by absolute blindness as in the dream. She 
had no memory of the dream. Now psychological 
analysis disclosed the meaning of the dream ; it was 
a symbolical representation of certain conserved 
(subconscious) previous thoughts thoughts appre- 
hensive of the future into which she dared not look, 
thinking she would be overwhelmed. While in a 
state of conservation the residua of these antece- 
dent thoughts had translated themselves into the 
symbolical hallucination of the dream and the loss 
of vision. Similarly after waking, although she had 
no memory of the dream, the conserved residua of 
the same thoughts continued to translate themselves 
into visual hallucinations and to induce blindness.* 
It would take too long for ine to enter here into the 

* Prince : Mechanism and Interpretation of Dreams, Jour, of 
Abn. Psych., October-November, 1910. 


details of the analysis which forces this conclusion.* 
Similarly, as is well known, convulsions resemb- 
ling epilepsy, paralysis, spasms, tics, contractures, 
etc., may be caused directly or indirectly by ideas, 
after they have passed out of consciousness and 
ceased to take part in the conscious processes of 
thought. At least that is the interpretation which 
the facts elicited by the various methods of investi- 
gation seem to require. 

There is an analogous class of phenomena which 
ought to be mentioned among the possible data 
bearing upon the theory of memory, although too 
much weight cannot be placed upon them as their 
interpretation is not wholly clear. I will discuss 
them in detail later in connection with the phenom- 
ena of the emotions. They are certain emotional 
phenomena which are attributed by some writers to 
ideas in a state of conservation. It has been demon- 
strated that ideas to which strong feeling tones are 
attached are accompanied by such physiological 
effects as disturbance of respiration, of the heart's 
action, of the vaso-motor system, of the secretions, 
etc., and also by certain galvanic phenomena which 
are due to the diminution of the electrical resist- 

* If, lacking this knowledge of the data, any one chooses to insist 
that it was not the conserved residua of previous thoughts, but of the 
dream itself (the only alternative entertainable explanation) which 
induced, after waking, the hallucinatory phenomena and blindness, 
we still fall back upon the same principle, namely, that of the 
subconscious functioning of conserved residua of a conscious experi- 
ence producing a physiological (and psychological) effect. 


ance of the body, probably caused by increased 
secretion of sweat.* 

Now the point is that such phenomena are some- 
times experimentally obtained in connection with 
certain test words f spoken to the subject experi- 
mented upon, although he has no recollection of any 
incident in his life which could have given an emo- 
tional tone to the word and, therefore, can give no 
explanation of the physical reaction. By various 
technical methods, however, memories of a for- 
gotten emotional experience in which the idea 
(represented by the word) plays a part and through 
which it derived its emotional tone are resurrected. 
I have been able to obtain such reactions from test 
words which investigation showed referred to the 
incidents of terrifying dreams which were com- 
pletely forgotten in the waking state. When the 
test word was given, the subject might, for instance, 
exhibit a respiratory disturbance a sudden gasp 
without conscious knowledge of its significance, and 
the galvanometer, with which the subject was in 
circuit, would show a wide deflection. Recovery of 
the dream in hypnosis would explain the meaning of 
the emotional disturbance excited by the word. The 

* According to recent researches of Sidis in conjunction with 
Kalnius, and later with Nelson (The Nature and Causation of the 
Galvanic Phenomenon, Psychological Review, March, 1910) similar 
galvanic phenomena under similar conditions may be caused by the 
generation of an electric current within the body. 

t The test word (e. g., boat, stone, hat, etc.) of course represents 
an idea which may have various associations in the mind of the 


interpretation which has been put upon such phe- 
nomena is that the residua of the forgotten experi- 
ence are " struck" by the test word. As the for- 
gotten experience originally included the emotion 
and its physiological reaction, so the residua are 
linked by association to the emotional mechanism 
and when stimulated function as a subconscious 
process and excite the reaction. If this interpreta- 
tion, strongly held by some, be correct, the phe- 
nomena are important for the support they give 
to the theory of conservation. They would indicate 
that conscious experiences must be conserved in 
a very specific subconscious form, one that is ca- 
pable, without becoming conscious memory, of excit- 
ing the physiological apparatus of the emotions in 
a manner identical with that of conscious emotional 
ideas. They are open, however, to a simpler ex- 
planation, whether more probable or not: namely, 
that it is not the residua of the forgotten experi- 
ence which unconsciously excite the physiological 
reaction, but the auditory symbol, the test word 
itself. The symbol having been once associated 
with the emotional reaction, it afterwards of itself, 
through a short circuit so to speak, suffices to induce 
the reaction, though the origin of the association 
has been forgotten and, therefore, the subject is in 
entire ignorance of the reason for the strong feeling 
manifestation. On the other hand, in some instances 
test words associated with emotional experiences 
which originally were entirely coconscious and had 
never entered conscious awareness at all give the 


reactions in question.* As coconscious memories of 
such experiences can be demonstrated it would seem 
at first sight as if under such conditions the word- 
reactions must come from a true subconscious proc- 
ess the subconscious memory. And yet even here 
it is difficult to eliminate absolutely the possibility 
of the second interpretation. There are, however, a 
large number of emotional phenomena occurring in 
pathological conditions which can only be intelligibly 
interpreted as being due to the residua of previously 
conscious experiences functioning as a subconscious 
process. These phenomena we shall have occasion 
to review in succeeding lectures. They are too com- 
plex to enter upon at this stage. 

Aside, then, from these word-reactions we have a 
sufficient number of other phenomena, such as I 
have cited, y/hich indicate that conscious experi- 
ences when conserved must persist in a form ca- 
pable of exciting purely physiological reactions 
without the experiences themselves rising into con- 
sciousness again as memory. The form must also 
be one which permits of their functioning as intelli- 
gent processes although not within the conscious 
field of awareness of the moment. 

As a final summing up of the experiments and 
observations of the kind which I have thus far cited, 

* Morton Prince and Frederick Peterson : Experiments in Psycho- 
Galvanic Eeactions from Coconscious (Subconscious) Ideas in a Case 
of Multiple Personality, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, April- 
May, 1908. 


dealing with forgotten experiences, we may say that 
they lead us to the following conclusions : 

1. That conservation is something very different 
from reproduction. 

2. A given experience is conserved through the 
medium of some kind of residuum of that experi- 
ence. This residuum must have a specific existence 
independent of consciousness, in that it is capable of 
specific and independent functioning, coincidentally 
with and outside of the consciousness of any given 
moment. Its nature must be such that it can incite 
through specific processes the following phenomena 
in none of which the conscious processes of the mo- 
ment take part as factors : 

(a) Specific memory for the given experience 
expressed through the established physiological 
mechanisms of external expression (speech, writing, 
gestures) after the manner of a mnesic process. 

(b) A mnesic hallucination which is a represen- 
tation of the antecedent perceptual experience but 
after having undergone translation into terms of 
another sense. 

(c) A mnesic hallucination in which the original 
experience appears synthesized with various other 
experiences into an elaborate representation of a 
complex experience, or secondarily elaborated into 
a symbolism, allegory or other fabrication. 

(d) Mnesic phenomena which are a logical con- 
tinuation of the antecedent conscious experiences 
and such as ordinarily are produced by conscious 
processes of thought reasoning, imagination, voli- 


tion (mathematical calculations, versification, fab- 
rication, etc.). 

(e) Physical phenomena (paralyses contrac- 
tures, vasomotor disturbances, etc.). 

In other words a specific experience while in a 
state of conservation and without being reproduced 
in consciousness can incite or induce processes 
which incite these and similar phenomena. 




We have got as far as showing that the phenom- 
ena of memory to be intelligible require that ideas 
which have passed out of mind must be conserved 
through some sort of residuum left by the original 
experience. But this as a theory of memory is in- 
complete; the question remains, How, and in what 
form, manner, or way, are they conserved? In 
other words, What is the nature of the residuum? 
Is it psychical or physical? * As we have seen, 
from the fact that something outside of the personal 
consciousness can manifest memory of a given ex- 
perience at the very same moment when the per- 
sonal consciousness has amnesia for that experi- 
ence, we are compelled to infer that conservation 
must be by a medium, psychological or physiologi- 
cal, capable of being excited as a specific secondary 
process. Now this medium must be either an 
undifferentiated "Psyche" or specific differentiated 
residua. In the former case we postulate a concept 
of a transcendental something beyond experience 

* I use this term physical in the sense in which it is used in the 
physical sciences without reference to any metaphysical concept or 
the ultimate nature of matter or of a physical process. 



and of which, like the soul after death, we have and 
can have no knowledge. To this concept of an un- 
differentiated Psyche we shall return presently. 

If the second alternative specific differentiated 
residua be the medium by which experiences are 
conserved, then the residua must be either specific 
psychological states, i. e., the original psychological 
experience itself as such; or neural residua (or 
dispositions) such as when excited are ordinarily 
correlated with a conscious memory. In either case 
the medium would be such as to permit of the 
experiences manifesting themselves, while so con- 
served outside of the personal consciousness, as a 
very specific secondary process, not only reproduc- 
ing the original experience as memory, but elabor- 
ating the same and exhibiting imagination, reason- 
ing, volition, feeling, etc. Unless the doctrine of 
the undifferentiated Psyche be accepted it is diffi- 
cult to conceive of any other mode in which conserv- 
ation can be effected so as to permit of the phe- 
nomena of memory outside of consciousness. 

Conservation considered as psychological residua It is 

hypothetically possible that our thoughts and other 
mental experiences after they have passed out of 
mind, out of our awareness of the moment, may 
continue their psychological existence as such 
although we are not aware of them. Such an 
hypothesis derives support from the fact that re- 
searches of recent years in abnormal psychology 
have given convincing evidence that an idea, under 


certain conditions, after it has passed out of our 
awareness may still from time to time take on an- 
other sort of existence, one in which it still remains 
an idea, although our personal consciousness of the 
moment is not aware of it. A coconscious idea, it 
may be called. More than this, in absent-minded- 
ness, in states of abstraction, in artificial conditions 
as typified in automatic writing, and particularly in 
pathological conditions (hysteria), it has been 
fairly demonstrated, as I think w r e are entitled to 
assert, that coconscious ideas in the form of sensa- 
tions, perceptions, thoughts, even large systems of 
ideas, may function and pursue autonomous and 
contemporaneous activity outside of the various 
systems of ideas which make up the personal con- 
sciousness. It usually is not possible for the in- 
dividual to bring such ideas within the focus of his 
awareness. Therefore, there necessarily results a 
doubling of consciousness, two consciousnesses, one 
of which is the personal consciousness and the other 
a coconsciousness. These phenomena need to be 
studied by themselves. We shall consider them 
here only so far as they bear on the problem of 
conscious memory. Observation has shown that 
among ideas of this kind it often happens that many 
are memories, reproductions of ideas that once be- 
longed to the personal consciousness. Hence, on 
first thought, it seems plausible that conservation 
might be effected by the content of any moment's 
consciousness becoming coconscious after the ideas 
have passed out of awareness. According to such 


an hypothesis all the conscious experiences of our 
lives, that are conserved, would form a great cocon- 
scious field where they would continue their exist- 
ence in specific form as ideas, and whence they 
could be drawn upon for use at any future time. 

Various difficulties are raised by this hypothesis. 
In the first place, there is no evidence that cocon- 
scious ideas have a continuous existence. The tech- 
nical methods of investigation which give evidence 
of such ideas functioning outside of the awareness 
of the personal consciousness do not show that at 
any given moment they are any more extensive than 
are those which fill the field of the personal con- 
sciousness. Indeed, usually, the coconscious field 
is of very limited extent. There remains an enor- 
mous field of conserved experiences to be accounted 
for. So far then as coconscious ideas can be dis- 
covered by our methods of investigation they are 
inadequate to account for the whole of the con- 
servation of life's experiences. 

In the second place, these ideas come and go in 
the same fashion as do those which make up the 
content of the main personal consciousness; and 
many are constantly recurring to become coconscious 
memories. The same problem, of the nature of 
conservation, therefore confronts us with cocon- 
scious ideas in the determination of the mechanism 
of coconscious memory. To explain conservation 
through coconscious ideas is but a shifting of the 
problem. If a broader concept be maintained, 
namely, that this coconsciousness, which can be 


demonstrated in special conditions, is but a fraction 
of the sum total of coconscious ideas outside of the 
personal awareness, we are confronted with a con- 
cept which from its philosophical nature deals with 
postulates beyond experience. We can neither 
prove nor disprove it. There is much that can be 
said in its support for the deeper we dive into the 
subconscious regions of the mind the more exten- 
sively do we come across evidences of coconscious 
states underlying specific phenomena. Neverthe- 
less, the .demonstration of coconscious states in any 
number of specific phenomena does not touch the 
problem of the nature of conservation. In weighing 
the probability of the hypothesis on theoretical 
grounds it would seem, as I have already said in a 
preceding lecture, to be hardly conceivable that 
ideas that had passed out of mind, the thoughts of 
the moment of which we are no longer aware, can 
be treasured, conserved as such in a sort of psycho- 
logical storehouse or reservoir of consciousness, 
just as if they were static or material facts. Such 
a conception would require that every specific state 
of consciousness, every idea, every thought, per- 
ception, sensation and feeling, after it had passed 
out of mind for the moment, should enter a great 
sea of ideas which would be the sum total of all our 
past experiences. In this sum-total millions of 
ideas would have to be conserved in concrete form 
until wanted again for use by the personal con- 
sciousness of the moment. Here would be found, in 
what you will see at once would be a real subcon- 


scious mind beyond the content or confines of our 
awareness, stored up, so to speak, ready for future 
use, the mass of our past mental experiences. Here 
you would find, perhaps, the visualized idea of a 
seagull soaring over the waters of your beautiful 
bay conserved in association with the idea of the 
mathematical formula, a-fb=c; the one having 
originated in a perception of the outer world 
through the window of your study while you were 
working at a lesson in algebra which gave rise to 
the latter. And yet conserved as ideas, as such vast 
numbers of experiences would be, we should not be 
aware of them until they were brought by some 
mysterious agency into the consciousness of the mo- 
ment. The great mass of the mental experiences 
of our lives which we have at our command, our 
extensive educational and other acquisitions from 
which we consciously borrow from time to time, as 
well as those which, we have seen, are conserved 
though they cannot be voluntarily reproduced, all 
these mental experiences, by the hypothesis, would 
still have persisting conscious existences in their 
original concrete psychological form. 

Such an hypothesis, to my mind, is hardly think- 
able, and yet this very hypothesis has been pro- 
posed, though in less concrete form perhaps, in the 
doctrine of the "subliminal mind," a particular 
form of the theory of the subconscious mind. This 
doctrine, which we owe to the genius of the late 
W. H. H. Meyers, has more recently appeared, 
without full recognition of its paternity, in the 


writings of a more modern school of psychology. 
According to this doctrine our personal conscious- 
ness, the ideas which we have at any given moment 
and of which we are aware, are but a small portion 
of the sum total of our consciousness. Of this sum- 
total we are aware, at any given moment, of only a 
fractional portion. Our personal consciousness is 
but sort of up-rushes from this great sum of con- 
scious states which have been called the subliminal 
mind, the subliminal self, the subconscious self. 
These conscious up-rushes make up the personal 
"I," with the sense of awareness for their content. 
The facts to be explained do not require such a 
metaphysical hypothesis. All that is required is 
that our continuously occurring experiences should 
be conserved in a form, and by an arrangement, 
which will allow the concrete ideas belonging to 
them to reappear in consciousness whenever the 
conserved arrangement is again stimulated. This 
requirement, the theory of conservation, which is 
generally accepted by those who approach the prob- 
lem by psycho-physiological methods, fully satisfies. 
Before stating this theory in specific form let me 
mention to you still another variety of the sublim- 
inal hypothesis, metaphysical in its nature, which 
appeals to some minds of a philosophical tendency. 

Conservation considered as an undifferentiated psychical 
something or "psyche." It is difficult to state this hy- 
pothesis clearly and precisely for it is necessarily 
vague, transcending as it does human experience. 


It is conceived, as I understand the matter, or at least 
the hypothesis connotes, that ideas of the moment, 
after ceasing to be a part of awareness, subside and 
become merged in some form or other in a larger 
mind or consciousness of which they were momen- 
tary concrete manifestations or phases. This con- 
sciousness is conceived as a sort of unity. Ideas 
out of awareness still persist as consciousness in 
some form though not necessarily as specific ideas. 
According to this hypothesis, it is evident that when 
the ideas of the moment's awareness subside and 
become merged into the larger consciousness either 
one of two things must happen ; they must either be 
conserved as specific ideas, or lose their individu- 
ality as states of consciousness, and become fused 
in this larger consciousness as an undifferentiated 
psychical something. Some like to call it a 
' i psyche, ' ' apparently finding that by using a Greek 
term, or a more abstract expression, they avoid the 
difficulties of clear thinking. 

The first alternative is equivalent to the hypothe- 
sis of conservation in the form of coconscious spe- 
cific ideas which we have just discussed. The second 
alternative still leaves unexplained the mechanism 
by which differentiation again takes place in this 
psychical unity, how a conscious unity becomes dif- 
ferentiated again into and makes up the various 
phases (ideas) of consciousness at each moment; 
that is, the mechanism of memory. 

But, aside from this difficulty, the hypothesis is 
opposed by evidence which we have already found 


for the persistence of ideas (after cessation as 
states of consciousness) in some concrete form ca- 
pable of very specific activity and of producing very 
specific effects. We have seen that such ideas may 
under certain conditions continue to manifest the 
same specific functionating activity as if continuing 
their existence in concrete form (e. g., so-called sub- 
conscious solution of problems, physiological dis- 
turbances, etc.). This phenomenon is scarcely 
reconcilable with the hypothesis that ideas after 
passing out of awareness lose their concrete spe- 
cificity and become merged into an undifferentiated 
psychical something.* 

Furthermore, for a concept transcending experi- 
ence to be acceptable it must be shown that it ade- 
quately explains all the known facts, is incompatible 
with none, and that the facts are not intelligible on 
any other known principle. These conditions seem 
to me far from having been fulfilled. Before accept- 
ing such a concept it is desirable to see if conserva- 
tion cannot be brought under some principle within 
the domain of experience. 

Conservation considered as physical residua. Now the 
theory of memory which offers a satisfactory ex- 
planation of the mode in which registration, con- 

* The psyche would have to be one which would be capable of 
becoming differentiated at one and the same moment into two in- 
dependent consciousnesses the personal and the secondary; a soul 
split into two, so to speak. The desire to explain a secondary con- 
sciousness by this doctrine has probably given rise to the popular 
notion of two souls in a single body! 


servation, and reproduction occur postulates the 
conserved residua as physical in nature. Whenever 
we have a mental experience of any kind a thought, 
or perception of the environment, or feeling some 
change, some "trace," is left in the neurons of 
the brain. I need not here discuss the relation be- 
tween brain activity and mind activity. It is enough 
to remind you that, whatever view be held, it is 
universally accepted that every mental process is 
accompanied by a physical process in the brain; 
that, parallel with every series of thoughts, percep- 
tions, or feelings, there goes a series of physical 
changes of some kind in the brain neurons. And, 
conversely, whenever this same series of physical 
changes occurs the corresponding series of mental 
processes, that is, of states of consciousness, arises. 
In other words, physical brain processes or expe- 
riences are correlated with corresponding mind 
processes or experiences, and vice versa.* This is 
known as the doctrine of psycho-physical parallel- 
ism. Upon this doctrine the whole of psycho-physi- 
ology and psycho-pathology rests. Mental physi- 
ology, cerebral localization, and mental diseases 

* If the theory of the unconscious presented in these lectures be 
firmly established this doctrine will have to be modified to this ex- 
tent, that, while all mental processes are accompanied by brain 
processes, brain processes that ordinarily have conscious equivalents 
can within certain limits occur without them and exhibit all the 
characteristics of intelligence unconscious cerebration. Indeed, it 
becomes probable that every mental process is a part of a larger 
mechanism in which unconscious brain processes not correlated with 
the specifically conscious processes are integral factors. 


excepting on its assumption are unintelligible in- 
deed, the brain as the organ of the mind becomes 
meaningless. We need not here inquire into the na- 
ture of the parallelism, whether it is of the nature 
of dualism, e. g., a parallelism of two different kinds 
of facts, one psychical and the other physical; or 
whether it is a monism, i. e., a parallelism of two 
different aspects of one and the same fact or a 
parallelism of a single reality (mind) with a mode 
of apprehending it (matter) mind and matter in 
their inner nature being held to be practically one 
and the same. The theory of memory is unaffected 
whichever view of the mind-brain relation be held. 
Now, according to the psycho-physiological 
theory of memory, with every passing state of con- 
scious experience, with every idea, thought, or per- 
ception, the brain process that goes along with it 
leaves some trace, some residue of itself, within the 
neurons and in the functional arrangements be- 
tween them. It is an accepted principle of physi- 
ology that when a number of neurons, involved, let 
us say, in a coordinated sensori-motor act, are stim- 
ulated into functional activity they become so asso- 
ciated and the paths between them become so 
opened or, as it were, sensitized, that a disposition 
becomes established for the whole group, or a num- 
ber of different groups, to function together and 
reproduce the original reaction when either one or 
the other is afterward stimulated into activity. This 
1 ' disposition " is spoken of in physiological lan- 
guage as a lowering of the threshold of excitability 


a term which does not explain but only describes 
the fact. For an explanation we must look to the 
nature of the physical change that is wrought in 
the neurons by the initial functioning. This change 
we may speak of as a residuum. 

Similarly a system of brain neurons, which in any 
experience is correlated in activity with conscious 
experience, becomes, so to speak, sensitized and ac- 
quires, in consequence, a "disposition" to function 
again as a system (lowering of thresholds?) in a 
like fashion; so that when one element in the sys- 
tem is again stimulated it reproduces the whole 
original brain process, and with this reproduction 
(according to the doctrine of psycho-physical par- 
allelism) there is a reproduction of the original 
conscious experience. In other words, without bind- 
ing ourselves down to absolute precision of lan- 
guage, it is sufficiently accurate to say that every 
mental experience leaves behind a residue, or a 
trace, of the physical brain process in the chain of 
brain neurons. This residue is the physical regis- 
ter of the mental experience. This physical register 
may be conserved or not. If it is conserved we have 
the requisite condition for memory; the form in 
which our mental experiences are conserved. But 
it is not until these physical registers are stimulated 
and the original brain experience is reproduced 
that we have memory. If this occurs the reproduc- 
tion of the brain experience reproduces the con- 
scious experience, i. e., conscious memory (accord- 
ing to whatever theory of parallelism is main- 


tained). Thus in all ideation, in every process of 
thought, the record of the conscious stream may be 
registered and conserved in the correlated neural 
process. Consequently, the neurons in retaining 
residua of the original process become, to a greater 
or less degree, organized into a functioning system 
corresponding to the system of ideas of the original 
mental process and capable of reproducing it. 
When we reproduce the original ideas in the form 
of memories it is because there is a reproduction of 
the physiological neural process. 

It is important to note that just as, on the psy- 
chological side, memory always involves the awak- 
ening of a previous conscious experience by an 
associated idea, one that was an element in the 
previous system of associated sensations, percep- 
tions, thoughts, etc., making up the experience, so, 
on the physiological side, we must suppose that it 
involves stimulation of the whole system of neu- 
rons belonging to this experience by the physiologi- 
cal stimulus corresponding to the conscious ele- 
ment or stimulus. For instance, if I see my friend 
A, the image is not a memory, though it is one I 
have had many times before and has left residua of 
itself capable of being reproduced as memory. But 
if I see his hat, and immediately previously linked 
pictorial images of him arise in my mind; or, if, 
when I see him, there arise images of his library in 
which I have previously seen him, these images are 
memory. A conscious memory is always the re- 
production of an experience by an associated idea 


or other element of experience (conscious or sub- 
conscious). Similarly we must infer that the 
neurons correlated with any past mental experience 
are stimulated by associated neuron processes. 
This is the foundation-stone of mental physiology; 
for upon the general principle of the correlation of 
mental processes with neural processes rests the 
whole of cerebral localization and brain physiology. 
Although we assume newly arranged dynamic 
associations of neurons corresponding to associa- 
tions of ideas, we do not know how this rearrange- 
ment is brought about, though we may conceive of 
it as following the physiological laws of lowering of 
thresholds of excitability. Nor do we know whether 
the modifications left as residua (by which the 
thresholds are lowered) are physical or chemical in 
their nature, though there is some reason for believ- 
ing they may be chemical. 

Chemical and physical theories of residua. It is pos- 
sible that, through chemical changes of some kind 
left in the system of neurons corresponding to an 
experience, the neurons may become sensitized so 
as to react again as a whole to a second stimulus 
applied to one element. In other words a hyper- 
susceptibility may become established. There is a 
physiological phenomenon, known as anaphylaxis, 
which may possibly prove more than analogous, 
in that it depends upon the production, through 
chemical changes, of hyper-susceptibility to a stimu- 
lus which before was inert. The phenomenon is 


one of sensitizing the body to certain previously 
innocuous substances. If, for instance, a serum 
from a horse be injected into a guinea pig no ob- 
servable reaction follows. But, if a second dose be 
injected, a very pronounced reaction follows and 
the animal dies with striking manifestations called 
anaphylactic shock. This consists of spasm of the 
bronchioles of the lungs induced by contraction of 
their unstriated muscles and results in an attack 
of asphyxia.* 

The mechanism of anaphylaxis is a very compli- 
cated one involving the production in the blood of 
chemical substances called antibodies, and is far 
from being thoroughly understood. One theory is 
that sensitization consists in the " fixing" of the 
cells of the tissues with these antibodies. This may 
or may not be correct probably not and I am 
far from wishing to imply that sensitization of the 
neurons, as a consequence of functioning, has any- 
thing in common with the mechanism of sensitizing 
the body in anaphylaxis. I merely wish to point 
out that sensitizing nervous tissue through chemi- 
cal changes is a physiological concept quite within 
the bounds of possibility; and, as all functioning is 
probably accompanied by metabolic (chemical) 
changes, such metabolic changes may well persist in 
neurons after brain reactions produce sensitization. 

* Dr. S. J. Meltzer has pointed out in a very suggestive article 
(Journal American Medical Association, Vol. IV, No. 12) that the 
anaphylactic attack resembles that of bronchial asthma in man, and 
argues that this latter disease may be the same phenomenon. 


If this hypothesis of sensitization should be 
proven it would offer an intelligible mechanism of 
the phenomenon of memory. If the system of neu- 
rons engaged in any conscious experience were 
sensitized by chemical changes it would acquire a 
hyper-susceptibility. The system as a whole would 
consequently be excited into activity by any other 
functioning system of neurons with which it was 
in anatomical association and might reproduce the 
originally correlated conscious experience. 

Various theories based on known or theoretical 
chemical or physical alterations in the neurons have 
been proposed to account for memory on the physi- 
ological side. Eobertson * has proposed that it is 
of the nature of autocatalysis. Catalysis is the 
property possessed by certain bodies called cata- 
lyzers of initiating or accelerating chemical reactions 
which would take place without the catalyzer, but 
more slowly. "A catalyzer is a stimulus which ex- 
cites a transformation of energy. The catalyzer 
plays the same role in a chemical transformation 
as does the minimal exciting force which sets free 
the accumulation of potential energy previous to 
its transformation into kinetic energy. A catalyzer 
is the friction of the match which sets free the 
chemical energy of the powder magazine. ' ' f 

Numerous examples of catalytic actions might 

* T. Brailsf ord Eobertson : Sur la Dynamique chimique du systeme 
nerveux central, Archiv. de Physiol. v. 6, 1908, p. 388. Ueber die 
Wirkung von Sauren auf das Athmungs Zentrum, Arch. f. die 
Gesammte Physiologie, Bd. 145, Hft. 5 u. 6, 1912. 

f Stephane Leduc : The Mechanism of Life. 


be given from chemistry. The inversion of sugar 
by acids, the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide 
by platinum black, fermentation by means of a solu- 
ble ferment or diastase, a phenomenon which may 
almost be called vital, are all instances. According 
to Leduc "the action of pepsin, of the pancreatic 
ferment, of zymase and other similar ferments has 
a great analogy with the purely physical phenome- 
non of catalysis." 

In auto-catalysis one of the products of the reac- 
tion acts as the catalyzer. Now Robertson con- 
cluded, as a result of his experiments carried out 
on frogs, that the processes which accompany the 
excitation of the cells of the neurons are of the 
nature of catalysis; for he found that they have 
as one effect the production of an acid ; and he also 
found that acids accelerate such processes which 
he concludes to be probably of the nature of oxida- 
tions. "The chemical phenomena which constitute 
the activity of a neuron cell," he says, "seem to 
us then an auto-catalytic oxidation, that is to say, 
an oxidation in which one of the products of the 
reaction acts as a catalyzer in the reaction." It 
occurred to him then that the physiological corre- 
late of memory might be explained on the principle 
of auto-catalysis. When, to test this hypothesis, he 
came to compare the results of certain psychological 
experiments on memory, made by two different ex- 
perimenters (Ebbinghaus and Smith), with the law 
characteristic of auto-catalytic chemical reactions, 
he found that they corresponded in a surprisingly 


close way with this law. That is to say, assuming 
the value of the residua of memory (measured by 
the number of syllables learnt by heart) to be pro- 
portional to the mass of the chemical product of 
auto-catalysis, we should expect that the increase 
of the number of syllables or other experiences re- 
tained by memory following increase of repetitions 
would obey the law of catalytic reaction as ex- 
pressed in the mathematical formula established 
for the reaction. Now, as a fact, he found that the 
number of syllables that should be so retained in 
memory, as calculated theoretically by the formula, 
corresponded in a remarkable way with the actual 
number determined by experiment. ''The agree- 
ment was closer," the author states, "than that 
which generally obtained in experiments in chemical 
dynamics carried out in vitro." Eobertson sums up 
his conclusions as follows : 

"5th: We have shown that the phenomenon of 
which the subjective aspect is called 'memory' is 
of a nature indicating that the autocatalyzed chemi- 
cal reactions form the mechanism conditioning the 
response of the central nervous system to stimuli. 

"6th. In admitting that the extent of the trace 
of memory may be proportionate to the mass of a 
product of an autocatalyzed chemical reaction un- 
folding itself in the central nervous system as the 
result of the application of a stimulus, we have 
shown that the relation which one theoretically de- 
duces between the mass of memory material and 


the number of repetitions corresponds to that which 
has been found by experience. 

' * 7th. On the basis of the hypothesis above men- 
tioned we have shown that the law of Weber- 
Fechner admits of a rational physico-chemical in- 
terpretation, and that the result thus obtained, pro- 
vided the hypothesis above mentioned be an exact 
representation of facts, is that the intensity of the 
sensation is at each instant proportionate to the 
mass of the product of the autocatalyzed chemical 
reaction above mentioned and, consequently, to the 
extent of the trace of memory. ' ' 

While it is easy to understand that auto-catalysis 
may take part in the chemical process which under- 
lies the performance of simple volition, as inferred 
by Robertson,* and perhaps reproduction in the 
memory process, it is difficult to understand how 
such a chemical action can explain conservation. 
The problem is not that of acceleration of an action, 
but of something like the storing up of energy. 

Rignanof has proposed an hypothesis according to 
which the cells of the nervous system are to be con- 
sidered as so many accumulators, analogous to elec- 
tric accumulators or storage batteries. "The simi- 
larities and differences which nerve currents pre- 
sent in comparison with electric currents warrant 
us in assuming in nerve currents some of the prop- 

* Further studies in the chemical dynamics of the central ner- 
vous system, Folio Neuro-Biologica, Bd. VI, Nos. 7 and 8, 1912. 

t Eugenic Rignano: Upon the Inheritance of Acquired Charac- 
ters. Trans, by Basil C. H. Harvey, Chicago. Open Court Publish- 
ing Co., 1911. 


erties of electric currents, and in attributing at the 
same time to the first other properties which the 
electric do not possess, provided these qualities are 
not incompatible with the others. ' ' 

Now, according to the hypothesis, the specific 
nervous current set up by any stimulus forms and 
deposits in the nucleus of the cells (through which 
the current flows) a substance which adds itself to 
the others already there without changing them 
and which is capable, under appropriate conditions, 
of being discharged and restoring the same specific 
current by which it was produced. Each cell thus 
becomes what Eignano calls an elementary nervous 
accumulator. He points out that "both the concep- 
tion of accumulators of nervous energy in tension, 
and that of accumulators of a specific nervous en- 
ergy constituting their specific irritability," which 
the hypothesis includes, are not new but "an ordi- 
nary conception very generally employed." . , . 
' t The only new thing which the above definition in- 
cludes is the hypothesis that the substance, which is 
thus capable of giving as a discharge a given nerv- 
ous current, was produced and deposited only by a 
nervous current of the same specificity, but in the 
inverse direction, and could have been produced and 
deposited only by such a current." "In just this 
capacity of restoring again the same specificity of 
nervous current as that by which each element had 
been deposited one would look for the cause of the 
mnemonic faculty, in the widest sense, which all liv- 
ing matter possesses. And further the very essence 


of the mnemonic faculty would consist entirely in 
this restitution." 

"The specific elementary accumulators (previ- 
ously termed specific potential elements) are thus 
susceptible now of receiving a third name, namely, 
that of mnemonic elements." "The preservation 
of memories is to be ascribed to the accumulations 
of substance," while "the reawakening of these 
memories consists in the restitution of the same cur- 
rents [by discharge of the substance] as had formerly 
constituted the actual sensation or impression." 

By this hypothesis Eignano explains not only 
memory but the inheritance of acquired characters 
and the whole process of specialization of cells, all 
of which phenomena are special instances of such 
elementary accumulators of organic energy being 
formed and discharged. 

Any attempt, with our present knowledge, to pos- 
tulate particular kinds of chemical or physical 
changes in the nervous system as the theoretical 
residua of physiological dispositions left by psycho- 
logical experiences must necessarily be speculative. 
And any hypothesis can only have so much validity 
as may come from its capability of explaining the 
known facts. It is interesting, however, to note 
some of the directions which attempts have taken to 
find a solution of the problem. For the present it is 
best to rest content with the theory to which we 
have been led, step by step, in our exposition, 
namely, that conservation is effected by some sort 
of physiological residua. This theory, of course, is 


an old one, and has been expressed by many writers. 
What we want, however, is not expressions of opin- 
ion but facts supporting them. It would seem as if 
the facts accumulated in recent years by experi- 
mental and abnormal psychology all tended to 
strengthen the theory, notwithstanding an inclina- 
tion in certain directions to seek a psychological in- 
terpretation of conservation. 

Some minds of a certain philosophical bent will 
not be able to get over the difficulty of conceiving 
how a psychological process can be conserved by 
the physical residuum of a physiological process. 
But this is only the old difficulty involved in the 
problem of the relation between mind and brain of 
which conservation is only a special example. That 
a mind process and a brain process are so intimately 
related that either one determines the other there 
is no question. It is assumed in every question of 
psycho-physiology. The only question is the How. 
I may point out in passing, but without discussion, 
that if we adopt the doctrine of panpsychism for 
which I have elsewhere argued * namely, that there 
is only one process the mental in one and the 
same individual, and that what we know as the phys- 
ical process is only the mode of apprehending the 
mental process by another individual; if we adopt 
this doctrine of monism the difficulty is solved. In 
other words, the psychical (and consciousness) is 

* Prince: The Nature of Mind and Human Automatism, 1885: 
Hughlings-Jackson on the Connection between the Mind and Brain, 
Brain, p. 250, 1891; The Identification of Mind and Matter, 
Philosoph. Eev., July, 1904. 


reality, while matter (and physical process) is a 
phenomenon, the disguise, so to speak, under which 
the psychical appears when apprehended through 
the special senses. According to this view in their 
last analysis all physical facts are psychical in na- 
ture, although not psychological (for psychological 
means consciousness), so that physiological and 
psychical are one. To this point I shall return in 
another lecture. 

Neurograms. Whatever may be the exact nature of 
the theoretical alterations left in the brain by life's 
experiences they have received various generic 
terms; more commonly "brain residua," and "brain 
dispositions." I have been in the habit of using 
the term neurograms to characterize these brain 
records. Just as telegram, Marconigram, and 
phonogram precisely characterize the form in 
which the physical phenomena which correspond to 
our (verbally or scripturally expressed) thoughts, 
are recorded and conserved, so neurogram precisely 
characterizes my conception of the form in which a 
system of brain processes corresponding to 
thoughts and other mental experiences is recorded 
and conserved.* 

Richard Semon (Die Mneme, 1908) has adopted the term 
Engramm with much the same signification that I have given to 
Neurogram, excepting that Engramm has a much wider meaning 
and connotation. It is not limited to nervous tissue, but includes 
the residual changes held by some to be left in all irritable living 
substances after stimulation. All such substances are therefore 
capable of memory in a wide sense (Mneme). 


Of course it must not be overlooked that such 
neurograms are pure theoretical conceptions, and 
have never been demonstrated by objective methods 
of physical research. They stand in exactly the 
same position as the atoms and molecules and ions 
and electrons of physics and chemistry, and the 
"antibodies" and "complements" of bacteriology. 
No one has seen any of these postulates of science. 
They are only inferred. All are theoretical con- 
cepts; but they are necessary concepts if the phe- 
nomena of physical, chemical, and bacteriological 
science are to be intelligible. The same may be said 
for brain changes if the phenomena of brain and 
mind are to be intelligible. 

And so it happens that though our ideas pass out 
of mind, are forgotten for the moment, and become 
dormant, their physiological records still remain, as 
sort of vestigia, much as the records of our spoken 
thoughts are recorded on the moving wax cylinder 
of the phonograph. When the cylinder revolves 
again the thoughts once more are reproduced as 
auditory language. A better analogy would be the 
recording and reproducing of our thoughts by the 
dynamic magnetization of the iron wire in another 
type of the instrument. The vibration of the voice 
by means of a particular electrical mechanism 
leaves dynamic traces in the form of corresponding 
magnetic changes in the passing wire, and when the 
magnetized wire again is passed before the repro- 
ducing diaphragm the spoken thoughts are again re- 
produced. So, when the ideas of any given con- 


scious experience become dormant, the physiologi- 
cal records, or dynamic rearrangements, still re- 
main organized as physiological unconscious com- 
plexes, and, with the excitation of these physiologi- 
cal complexes, the corresponding psychological 
memories awake. 

It is only as such physiological complexes that 
ideas that have become dormant can be regarded as 
still existing. If our knowledge were deep enough, 
if by any technical method we could determine the 
exact character of the modifications of the disposi- 
tions of the neurons that remain as vestiges of 
thought and could decipher their meaning, we could 
theoretically read in our brains the record of our 
lives, as if graphically inscribed on a tablet. As 
Ribot has well expressed it: " . . . Feelings, ideas, 
and intellectual actions in general are not fixed and 
only become a portion of memory when there are 
corresponding residua in the nervous system re- 
sidua consisting, as we have previously demon- 
strated, of nervous elements, and dynamic associa- 
tions among those elements. On this condition, and 
this only, can there be conservation and reproduc- 
tion." Dormant ideas are thus equivalent to con- 
served physiological complexes. We may use either 
term to express the fact. 

The observations and experiments I have recited 
have led us to the conclusion that conservation of 
an experience is something quite specific and dis- 

* Th. Ribot : Diseases of Memory, pp. 154, 155. Translation by 
William Huntington Smith. D. Appleton & Co. 


tinct from the reproduction of it. They compel us 
to the conclusion that we are entitled, as I pointed 
out at the opening of these lectures, to regard 
memory as a process and the result of at least two 
factors conservation and reproduction. But as 
conservation is meaningless unless there is some- 
thing to be conserved, we must also assume regis- 
tration; that is, that every conserved mental experi- 
ence is primarily registered somehow and some- 
where. Conservation implies registration. 

Such is the theory of memory as a process of reg- 
istration, conservation, and reproduction. Thus it 
will be seen (according to the theory) that ideas 
which have passed out of mind are preserved, if at 
all, not as ideas, but as physical alterations or rec- 
ords in the brain neurons and in the functional 
dynamic arrangements between them. 

From this you will easily understand that while, 
as you have seen from concrete observations, we 
can have conservation of experiences without mem- 
ory (reproduction) we cannot have memory without 
conservation. Three factors are essential for mem- 
ory, and memory may fail from the failure of any 
one of them. Unless an experience is registered in 
some form there will be nothing to preserve, and 
memory will fail because of lack of registration. If 
the experience has been registered, memory may 
fail, owing to the registration having faded out, so 
to speak, either with time or from some other rea- 
son; that is, nothing having been conserved, noth- 
ing can be reproduced. Finally, though an experi- 


ence has been registered and conserved, memory 
may still fail, owing to failure of reproduction. The 
neurographic records must be made active once 
more, stimulated into an active process, in order 
that the original experience may be recalled, i. e., 
reproduced. Thus what we call conscious memory 
is the final result of a process involving the three 
factors, registration, conservation, and reproduction. 

Physiological memory. Memory as commonly re- 
garded and known to psychology is a conscious 
manifestation but, plainly, if we regard it, as we 
have thus far, as a process, then, logically, we are 
entitled to regard any process which consists of the 
three factors, registration, conservation, and repro- 
duction of experiences, as memory, whether the 
final result be the reproduction of a conscious expe- 
rience, or one to which no consciousness was ever 
attached. In other words, theoretically it is quite 
possible that acquired physiological body-experien- 
ces may be reproduced by exactly the same process 
as conscious experiences, and their reproduction 
would be entitled to be regarded as memory quite as 
much as if the experience were one of consciousness. 
In principle it is evident that it is entirely imma- 
terial whether that which is reproduced is a con- 
scious or an unconscious experience so long as the 
mechanism of the process is the same. 

Now, as a matter of fact, there are a large number 
of acquired physiological body-actions which, 
though unconscious, must be regarded quite as much 


as manifestations of memory as is the conscious 
repetition of the alphabet, or any other conscious 
acquisition. Having been acquired they are ipso 
facto reproductions of organized experiences. We 
all know very well that movements acquired voli- 
tionally, and perhaps laboriously, are, after con- 
stant repetition, reproduced with precision with- 
out conscious guidance. 

They are said to be automatic; even the guiding 
afferent impressions do not enter the content of 
consciousness. The maintaining of the body in one 
position, sitting or standing, though requiring a 
complicated correlation of a large number of mus- 
cles, is carried out without conscious volition. It is 
the same with walking and running. Still more 
complicated movements are similarly performed in 
knitting, typewriting and playing the piano, shav- 
ing, buttoning a coat, etc. We do not even know the 
elementary movements involved in the action, and 
must become aware of them by observation. The 
neurons remember, i. e., conserve and reproduce the 
process acquired by previous conscious experiences. 
But though it is memory it is not conscious mem- 
ory, it is unconscious memory, i. e., a physiological 
memory. The acquired dispositions repeat them- 
selves what is called habit. Precision in games of 
skill largely depend upon this principle. A tennis 
player must learn the " stroke" to play the game 
well. This means that the muscles must be co- 
ordinated to a delicate adjustment which, once 
learned, must be unconsciously remembered and 


used, without consciously adjusting the muscles 
each time the ball is hit. Indeed some organic mem- 
ories are so tenacious that a player once having 
learned the stroke finds great difficulty even by ef- 
fort of will in unlearning it and making his muscles 
play a different style of stroke. Likewise one who 
has learned to use his arms in sparring by one 
method finds difficulty in learning to spar by an- 
other method. In fact almost any acquired move- 
ment is compounded of elementary movements 
which by repetition were linked and finely adjusted 
to produce the resultant movement, and finally con- 
served as an unconscious physiological arrange- 
ment. As one writer has said, the neuron organi- 
zation "faithfully preserves the records of proc- 
esses often performed." 

In what has just been said the fact has not been 
overlooked that the initiation or modification of any 
of the movements which have been classed as physi- 
ological memory (knitting, typewriting, games of 
skill, etc.), even after their acquisition, is necessar- 
ily voluntary and therefore, so far, a conscious mem- 
ory, but the nice coordination of afferent and effer- 
ent impulses for the adjustment of the muscles in- 
volved becomes, by repetition, an unconscious mech- 
anism, and is performed outside the province of the 
will as an act of unconscious memory. By repeated 
experience the neurons become functionally orga- 
nized in such a way as to acquire and conserve a 
functional "disposition" to reproduce the move- 
ments originally initiated by volition. 


Physiological memory has indeed, as it seems, 
been recently experimentally demonstrated by Koth- 
mann, who educated a dog from which the hemi- 
spheres had been removed to perform certain 
tricks ; e. g., to jump over a hurdle.* 

Still another variety of memory is psycho-physio- 
logical. This type is characterized by a combina- 
tion of psychological and physiological elements 
and is important, as we shall see later, because of 
the conspicuous part which such memories play in 
pathological conditions. Certain bodily reactions 
which are purely physiological, such as vaso-motor, 
cardiac, respiratory, intestinal, digestive, etc., dis- 
turbances, become, as the result of certain experi- 
ences, linked with one or another psychical ele- 
ment (sensations, perceptions, thoughts), and, this 
linking becoming conserved as a "disposition," the 
physiological reaction is reproduced whenever the 
psychical element is introduced into consciousness. 
Thus, for example, the perception or thought of a 
certain person may become, as the result of a given 
social episode, so linked with blushing or cardiac 
palpitation that whenever the former is thrust into 
consciousness, no matter how changed the condi- 
tions may be from those of the original episode, the 
physiological reaction of the blood vessels or heart 
is reproduced. Here the original psycho-physio- 
logical experience the association of an idea (or 
psychical element) with the physiological process is 
conserved and repoduced. Such a reproduction is 

* Cf . Lecture VIII, p. 238. 


essentially a psycho-physiological memory depend- 
ing wholly upon the acquired disposition of the neu- 

Thus, to take an actual example from real life, a 
certain person during a series of years was expect- 
ing to hear bad news because of the illness of a 
member of the family and consequently was always 
startled, and her " heart always jumped into her 
throat," whenever the telephone rang. Finally the 
news came. That anxiety is long past, but now 
when the telephone rings, although she is not ex- 
pecting bad news and no thought of the original ex- 
perience consciously arises in her mind, her "heart 
always gives a leap and sometimes she bursts into a 
perspiration. ' ' 

A beautiful illustration of this type of memory is 
to be found in the results of the extremely impor- 
tant experiments, for psychology as well as physiol- 
ogy, of Pawlow and his co-workers in the reflex stim- 
ulation of saliva in dogs. These experiments show 
the possibility of linking a physiological process to 
a psychological process by education, and through 
the conservation of the association reproducing the 
physiological process as an act of unconscious mem- 
ory. (The experiments, of course, were undertaken 
for an entirely different purpose, namely, that of 
studying the digestive processes only.) It should 
be explained that it was shown that the salivary 

* Emotion is a factor in the genesis of such phenomena, but may 
be disregarded for the present until we have studied the phenomena 
of the emotions by themselves. 


glands are selective in their reaction to stimuli in 
that they do not respond at all to some (pebbles, 
snow), but respond to others with a thin watery 
fluid containing mere traces of mucin or a slimy 
mucin-holding fluid, according as to whether the 
stimulating substance is one which the dog rejects, 
and which therefore must be washed out or diluted 
(sands, acids, bitter and caustic substances), or is 
an eatable substance and must as a food bolus be 
lubricated for the facilitation of its descent. Dry- 
ness of the food, too, largely determined the quan- 
tity of the saliva. 

Now the experiments of the St. Petersburg labo- 
ratory brought out another fact which is of particu- 
lar interest for us and which is thus described by 
Pawlow. "In the course of our experiments it ap- 
peared that all the phenomena of adaptation which 
we saw in the salivary glands under physiological 
conditions, such, for instance, as the introduction of 
the stimulating substances into the buccal cavity, 
reappeared in exactly the same manner under the 
influence of psychological conditions that is to say, 
when we merely drew the animal's attention to the 
substances in question. Thus, when we pretended 
to throw pebbles into the dog's mouth, or to cast in 
sand, or to pour in something disagreeable, or, fi- 
nally, when we offered it this or that kind of food, a 
secretion either immediately appeared or it did not 
appear, in accordance with the properties of the 
substance which we had previously seen to regu- 
late the quantity and nature of the juice when 


physiologically excited to flow. If we pretended to 
throw in sand a watery saliva escaped from the 
mucous glands; if food, a slimy saliva. And if the 
food was dry for example, dry bread a large 
quantity of saliva flowed out even when it excited no 
special interest on the part of the dog. When, on 
the other hand, a moist food was presented for ex- 
ample, flesh much less saliva appeared than in the 
previous case however eagerly the dog may have 
desired the food. This latter effect is particularly 
obvious in the case of the parotid gland." 

It is obvious that in these experiments, when the 
experimenter pretended to throw various sub- 
stances into the dog's mouth, the action was effec- 
tive in producing the flow of saliva of specific quali- 
ties because, through repeated experiences, the pic- 
torial images (or ideas) of the substance had be- 
come associated with the specific physiological sali- 
vary reaction, and this association had been con- 
served as a neurogram. Consequently the neuro- 
graphic residue when stimulated each time by the 
pretended action of the experimenter reproduced 
reflexly the specific physiological reaction and, so 
far as the process was one of registration, conserva- 
tion, and reproduction, it was an act of psycho- 
physiological memory. 

That this is the correct interpretation of the edu- 
cational mechanism is made still more evident by 
other results that were obtained; for it was found 

* The Work of the Digestive Glands (English Translation), p. 


that the effective psychical stimulus may be part of 
wider experiences or a complex of ideas; every- 
thing that has been in any way psychologically as- 
sociated with an object which physiologically ex- 
cites the saliva reflex may also produce it ; the plate 
which customarily contains the food, the furniture 
upon which it stands; the person who brings it; 
even the sound of the voice and the sound of the 
steps of this person.* 

Indeed, it was found that any sensory stimulus 
could be educated into one that would induce the 
flow of saliva, if the stimulus had been previously 
associated with food which normally excited the 
flow. "Any ocular stimulus, any desired sound, any 
odor that might be selected, and the stimulation of 
any part of the skin, either by mechanical means or 
by the application of heat or cold, have in our hands 
never failed to stimulate the salivary glands, al- 
though they were all of them at one time supposed 
to be inefficient for such a purpose. This was ac- 
complished by applying these stimuli simultane- 
ously with the action of the salivary glands, this ac- 
tion having been evolved by the giving of certain 
kinds of food or by forcing certain substances into 
the dog's mouth, "f It is obvious that reflex exci- 
tation thus having been accomplished by the edu- 
cation of the nerve centers to a previously indiffer- 
ent stimulus the reproduction of the process 

* Psychische Erregung der Speicheldrusen, J. P. Pawlow. Ergeb- 
nisse der Physiologie, 1904, I Abteil., p. 182. 

t Huxley Lecture, Br. Med. Jour., October 6, 1906. 


through this stimulus is, in principle, an act of 
physiological memory.* 

The experiences of the dogs embraced quite large 
systems of ideas and sensory stimuli which in- 
cluded the environment of persons and their actions, 
the furniture, plates, and other objects ; and various 
ocular, auditory, and other sensory stimuli applied 
arbitrarily to the dogs. All these experiences had 
been welded into an associative system and con- 
served as neurograms. Consequently it was only 
necessary to stimulate again any element in the 
neurogram to reproduce the whole process, includ- 
ing the specific salivary reaction. 

We shall see later that these experiments acquire 
additional interest from the fact that in them is to 
be found the fundamental principle of what under 
other conditions can be recognized as a psycho- 
neurosis an abnormal or perverted association 
and memory. The effects produced by this associa- 
tion of stimuli may be regarded as the germ of the 
habit psychosis, and in these experiments we have 
experimental demonstration of the mechanism of 
these psychoses but this is another story which we 
will take up by and by. 

Recollection This is as good a place as any other 
to call attention to a certain special form of mem- 
ory. Kecollection and memory are not synonymous 

* Pawlow overlooked in these experiments the possible, if not 
probable, intermediary of the emotions in producing the effects. 
The principle, however, would not be affected thereby. 


terms. We are accustomed to think of memory as 
including, in addition to other qualities, recollection, 
i. e., what is called localization of the experience in 
time and space. It connotes an awareness of the 
content of the memory having been once upon a time 
a previous experience which is more or less accu- 
rately located in a given past time (yesterday, or a 
year ago, or twenty years ago), and in certain local 
relations of space (when we were at school, or rid- 
ing in a railway car with so and so). But, as Eibot 
points out, this (relatively to physiological mem- 
ories) is ... "only a certain kind of memory 
which we call perfect. ' ' For we have just seen that, 
when memory is considered as a process, repro- 
duced physiological processes, which contain no 
elements of consciousness and therefore of localiza- 
tion, may be memory. But more than this, I would 
insist, recollection is only a more perfect kind of 
conscious memory. Eibot would make recollection 
a peculiarity of all conscious memory, but this is 
plainly an oversight. As we saw in previous lec- 
tures there may be conscious memories which do not 
contain any element of recollection, or, in other 
words, such conscious memories resemble in every 
way, in principle, the reproduction of organic neuron 
processes in that they have no conscious localization 
in the past. In dissociated personalities, for in- 
stance, and in other types of dissociated conditions 
(functional amnesia, post-hypnotic states, etc.), the 
names of persons, places, faces, objects, and even 
complex ideas may flash into the mind without any 


element of recollection. The person may have no 
idea whence they come, but by experiment it is easy 
to demonstrate that they are automatic memories 
of past experiences.* In the sensory automatisms 
known as crystal visions, pictures which accurately 
reproduce, symbolically, past experiences of which 
the subject has no recollection may vividly arise in 
the mind. Such pictures are real conscious sym- 
bolic memories. Dreams, too, as we have seen, may 
be unrecognized memories in that they may repro- 
duce conscious experiences, something heard or 
seen perhaps, but which has been completely for- 
gotten even when awake. Again, modern methods 
of investigation show that numerous ideas that oc- 
cur in the course of our everyday thoughts names, 
for instance are excerpts from, or vestiges of, pre- 
vious conscious experiences of which we have no 
recollection, that is to say, they are memories, re- 
productions of formerly experienced ideas. In the 
absence of recollection they seem to belong only to 
the present. Memories which hold an intermediate 
place between these automatic memories and those 
of true recollection are certain memories, like the 
alphabet or a verse or phrase once learned by heart 
which we are able at best to localize only dimly in 
the past. Indeed, the greater part of our vocabu- 
lary is but conscious memory without localization in 

'Compare "The Dissociation," pp. 254, 261. For examples, see 
also "Multiple Personality," by Boris Sidis, and "The Lowell Case 
of Amnesia," by Isador Coriat, The Journal of Abnormal Psychol- 
ogy, Vol. II, p. 93. 


the past. So we see that recollection is not an es- 
sential even for conscious memories. It is only a 
particular phase of memory just as are automatic 
conscious memories. 


In what I have said thus far I have had another 
purpose in view than that of a mere exposition of 
the psycho-physiological theory of memory. This 
other and chief purpose has been to lay the founda- 
tion for a conception of the Unconscious in its larger 
aspect. We have seen that thoughts and other con-\ 
scious experiences that have passed out of mind may 
be and to an enormous extent are conserved and, 
from this point of view, may be properly regarded 
as simply dormant. Further we have seen that all 
the data collected by experimental pathology and 
other observations lead to the conclusion that con- 
servation is effected in the form of neurographic 
residua or brain neurograms organized physio- 
logical records of passing mental experiences of all 
sorts and kinds. We have seen that these neuro- 
graphic records conserve not only our educational 
acquisitions and general stock of knowledge all 
those experiences which we remember but a vast 
number of others which we cannot spontaneously 
recall, including, it may be, many which date back 
to early childhood, and many which we have delib- 
erately repressed, put out of mind and intentionally 



forgotten. We have also seen that it is not only 
these mental experiences which occupied the focus 
of our attention that leave their counterpart in 
neurograms, but those as well of which we are only 
partially aware absent-minded thoughts and acts 
and sensations and perceptions which never entered 
our awareness at all subconscious or coconscious 
ideas as they are called. Finally, we have seen that 
the mental experiences of every state, normal, arti- 
ficial, or pathological, whatever may be the state of 
the personal consciousness, are subject to the same 
principle of conservation. In this way, in the course 
of any one 's natural life, an enormous field of neuro- 
grams is formed representing ideas which far tran- 
scend in multitude and variety those of the personal 
consciousness at any given moment and all moments, 
and which are far beyond the voluntary beck and 
call of the personal consciousness of the individual. 
Neurograms are concepts and, by the meaning of 
the concept, they are unconscious. It is not neces- 
sary to enter into the question whether they are in 
their ultimate nature psychical or physical. That is 
a philosophical question.* They are at any rate un- 
conscious in this sense; they are devoid of con- 
sciousness, i. e., have none of the psychological at- 

* I forbear to enter into the question of the nature of conscious- 
ness and matter. In the last analysis, matter and mind probably 
are to be identified as different manifestations of one and the same 
principle the doctrine of monism call it psychical, spiritual, or ma- 
terial, or energy, as you like, according to your fondness for names. 
For our purpose it is not necessary to touch this philosophical prob- 
lem as we are dealing only with specific biological experiences. 


tributes of any of the elements of consciousness, 
and in the sense in which any physiological ar- 
rangement or process is not conscious, i. e., is un- 
conscious. We have here, then, in the concept of 
brain residual neurograms the fundamental mean- 
ing of the Unconscious.* The unconscious is the 
great storehouse of neurograms which are the 
physiological records of our mental lives. By the 
terms of the concept neurograms are primarily pas- 
sive the potential form, as it were, in which psy- 
chical energy is stored. This is not to say, however, 
that, from moment to moment, certain ones out of 
the great mass may not become active processes. 
On the contrary, according to the theory of memory, 
when certain complexes of neurograms are stimu- 

* Also quite commonly termed the Subconscious. Unfortunately 
the term unconscious, as noun or adjective, is used in two senses, 
viz., (1) pertaining to unawareness (for example, I am unconscious 
of such and such a thing), and (2) in the sense of not having the 
psychological attribute of consciousness, i. e., non-conscious. 

In the first sense the adjective is used, as in the phrase "uncon- 
scious process" to define a process of which we are unaware without 
connotation as to whether it is a psychological process or a brain 
process; also the noun (The Unconscious) is used to signify some- 
thing not in awareness regardless of whether that something is 
psychological or not; on the other hand, as an adjective it is also 
used, as in the phrase "unconscious ideas," to specifically signify 
real ideas of which we are unaware. 

In the second sense, as noun or adjective, it is used to denote 
specifically brain residua or processes, which, of course, are devoid 
of consciousness. With this interchange of meaning the term is 
apt to be confusing and is lacking in precision. In the text un 
conscious will Ite used always with the second meaning, unless in- 
verted commas or the context plainly indicate the first meaning. 
(Cf. Lecture VIII, pp. 248-254). 


lated they take on activity and function the po- 
tential energy becomes converted into dynamic en- 
ergy. In correlation with the functioning of such 
neurographic complexes, the complexes of ideas 
which they conserve the psychological equivalents 
are reproduced (according to the doctrines of 
monism and parallelism) and enter the stream of 
the personal consciousness. The unconscious be- 
comes the conscious (monism), or provided with 
correlated conscious accompaniments (parallelism), 
and we may speak of the ideas arising out of the un- 

Neurograms may also function as subconscious processes 
exhibiting intelligence and determining mental and bodily 
behavior Here two important questions present 
themselves. Is it a necessary consequence that when 
unconscious neurograms become active processes 
psychological equivalents must be awakened; and 
when they are awakened, must they necessarily 
enter the stream of the personal consciousness? If 
both these questions may be answered in the nega- 
tive, then plainly in either case such active processes 
become by definition subconscious processes of an 
unconscious nature in the one case and of a cocon- 
scious nature in the other. They would be subcon- 
scious because in the first place they would occur 
outside of consciousness and there is no awareness 
of them, and in the second place they would be a 
dissociated second train of processes distinct from 
those engaged in the conscious stream of the mo 


ment. Theoretically such subconscious processes, 
whether unconscious or coconscious, might perform 
a variety of functions according to the specificity of 
their activities. 

Now, in preceding lectures, when marshalling the 
evidence for conservation, we met with a large num- 
ber and variety of phenomena (automatic writing, 
hallucinations, post-hypnotic phenomena, dreams, 
''unconscious" solution of problems, etc.), which 
clearly demonstrated that memory might be mani- 
fested by processes of which the individual was un- 
aware and which were outside the content of con- 
sciousness. Hence these phenomena presented very 
clear evidence of the occurrence of processes that 
may be properly termed subconscious.* Attention, 
however, was primarily directed to them only so far 
as they offered evidence of conservation and of the 
mode by which conservation was effected. But nec- 
essarily these evidences were subconscious manifes- 
tations of forgotten experiences (memory), and in 
so far as this was the case we saw that unconscious 
neurograms can take on activity and function sub- 
consciously ; i. e., without their psychological equiva- 
lents (i. e., correlated conscious memory) entering 
the stream of the personal consciousness. We may 
now speak of these processes as subconscious mem- 
ory. But when their manifestations are carefully 
scrutinized they will be found to exhibit more than 
memory. They may, for instance, exhibit logical 

* Also termed by some writers unconscious. (See preceding foot- 


elaboration of the original experiences, and what 
corresponds to fabrication, reasoning, volition and 
affectivity. Theoretically this is what we should 
expect if any of the conserved residual experiences 
of life can function subconsciously. As life's ex- 
periences include fears, doubts, scruples, wishes, af- 
fections, resentments, and numerous other affective 
states, innate dispositions, and instincts, the subcon- 
scious memory process necessarily may include any 
of these affective complexes of ideas and tendencies. 
An affective complex means an idea (or ideas) 
linked to one or more emotions and feelings. In 
other words, any acquired residua drawn from the 
general storehouse of life's experiences may be sys- 
tematized with feelings and emotions, the innate 
dispositions and instincts of the organism. Now it 
is a general psychological law that such affective 
states tend by the force of their conative impulses 
to carry the specific ideas with which they are sys- 
tematized to fulfilment through mental and bodily 
behavior. Consequently, theoretically, it might 
thus well be that the residua of diverse experiences, 
say a fear or a wish, by the force of such impulses 
might become activated into very specific subcon- 
scious processes with very specific tendencies ex- 
pressing themselves in very specific ways, produc- 
ing very specific and diverse phenomena. Thus 
memory would be but one of the manifestations of 
subconscious processes. 

Now, as a matter of fact, there are a large num- 
ber of phenomena which not only justify the postu- 


lation of subconscious processes but also the infer- 
ence that such processes, activated by their affective 
impulses, may so influence conscious thought that 
the latter is modified in various ways ; that it may be 
determined in this or that direction, inhibited, in- 
terrupted, distorted, made insistent, and given pa- 
thological traits. There is also a large variety of 
bodily phenomena which can be explicitly shown to 
be due to subconscious processes, and many which 
are only explicable by such a mechanism. Indeed, a 
subconscious process may become very complex and 
constellated with any one or many of the psycho- 
physiological mechanisms of the organism. In spe- 
cial artificial and pathological conditions where 
such processes reach their highest development, as 
manifested through their phenomena, they may ex- 
hibit that which when consciously performed is un- 
derstood to be intelligence, comprising reasoning, 
constructive imagination, volition, and feeling; in 
short, what is commonly called thought or mental 
processes. Memory, of course, enters as an intrin- 
sic element in these manifestations just as it is an 
intrinsic element in all thought. The automatic 
script that describes the memories of a long-forgot- 
ten childhood experience may at the same time rea- 
son, indulge in jests, rhyme, express cognition and 
understanding of questions indeed (if put to the 
test), might not only pass a Binet-Simon examina- 
tion for intelligence, but take a high rank in a Civil 
Service examination. In these more elaborate ex- 
hibitions of subconscious intelligence it is obvious 


that there is an exuberant efflorescence of the re- 
sidua deposited in many unconscious fields by life 's 
experiences and synthesized into a subconscious 
functioning system. 

It is beyond the scope of this lecture to examine 
into the particular mechanism by which a subcon- 
scious process is provoked at all why, for instance, 
a dormant wish or fear-neurogram becomes acti- 
vated into a subconscious wish or fear, or having 
become activated, the mechanism by which such a 
wish or fear manifests itself in this phenomenon or 
that or to examine even any large number of the 
various phenomena which are provoked by subcon- 
scious processes, and it is not my intention to do so. 
Such problems belong to special psychology and 
special pathology. Of recent years, for instance, 
certain schools of psychology, and in particular the 
Freudian school, have attempted to establish par- 
ticular mechanisms by which subconscious processes 
come into being and express themselves. We are 
engaged in the preliminary and fundamental task of 
establishing, if possible, certain basic principles 
which any mechanism must make use of, and, as a 
deeper-lying theoretical question, the nature of such 

The subconscious now belongs to popular speech 
and it is the fashion of the day to speak of it glibly 
enough, but I fear it means very little to the aver- 
age person. It is involved in vagueness if not mys- 
tery. Yet as a necessary induction from observed 
facts it has a very precise and concrete meaning 


devoid of abtruseness, just as the other has a pre- 
cise and concrete meaning. Although subconscious 
processes were originally postulated on theoretical 
grounds, the theory is fortunately open to experi- 
mental tests so that it is capable of being placed on 
an experimental basis like other concepts of science. 
It is possible to artificially create such processes 
and study their phenomena; that is to say, the 
modes in which they manifest their activities, their 
influence upon conscious and bodily processes. We 
can study their effect in inhibiting and distorting 
thought, in determining it in this or that direction, 
in creating hallucinatory, emotional, amnesic, and 
other mental phenomena, in inducing physiological 
disturbances of motion, sensation, of the viscera, 
etc. We can also study the capabilities and limita- 
tions of the subconscious in carrying on intelligent 
operations below the threshold of consciousness. 
Again, we can investigate the phenomena of this 
kind as met with in the course of clinical observa- 
tions, and by technical methods of research explore 
the subconscious and thus explicitly reveal the proc- 
ess underlying and inducing the phenomena. By 
such methods of investigation the subconscious has 
been removed from the field of speculative psychol- 
ogy, and placed in the field of . experimental re- 
search. We have thus been enabled to postulate a 
subconscious process as a definite concrete process 
producing very definite phenomena. These proc- 
esses and their phenomena have become a field of 
study in themselves and, from my point of view, 


the determination of the laws of the subconscious 
should be approached by such experimental and 
technical methods of research. After its various 
modes of activity, its capabilities and limitations 
have been in this way established, its laws can then 
be applied to the solution of conditions surround- 
ing particular problems. Though we can determine 
the actuality of a particular subconscious process 
this does not mean that we can determine all the 
components of that process ; we may be able to de- 
termine many or perhaps none of these: just as 
among the constituents of a crowd we may discern 
an active, turbulent group creating a disturbance, 
though we may not be able to recognize all the com- 
ponents of the group or the scattered individuals 
acting in conjunction with it. Nor may we be able 
to determine the intrinsic nature of a subconscious 
process whether it is a conscious or unconscious 
one, but only the actuality of the process, the con- 
ditions of its activity, and the phenomena which it 

A subconscious process may be provisionally de- 
fined as one of which the personality is unaware, 
which, therefore, is outside the personal conscious- 
ness, and which is a factor in the determination of 
conscious and b.odily phenomena, or produces ef- 
fects analogous to those ivhich might be directly or 
indirectly induced by consciousness. It would be 
out of the question at this time to enter into an ex- 
position of the larger subject the multiform phe- 
nomena of the subconscious, but as its processes are 


fundamental to an understanding of many phenom- 
ena with which we shall have to deal, we should 
have a clear understanding of the grounds on which 
such processes are postulated as specific, concrete 
occurrences. The classical demonstration of sub- [ 
conscious occurrences makes use of certain phenom- 
ena of hysteria, particularly those of subconscious 
personalities and artificial "automatic" phenomena 
like automatic writing. The epoch-making re- 
searches of Janet * on hysterics and almost coinci- 
dently with him of Edmund Gurney on hypnotics 
very clearly established the fact that these phenom- 
ena are the manifestations of dissociated processes 
outside of and independent of the personal con- 
sciousness. Among the phenomena, for example, 
are motor activities of various kinds such as ordi- 
narily are or may be induced by conscious intelli- 
gence. As the individual, owing to anesthesia, may 
be entirely unaware even that he has performed any 
such act, the process that performed it must be one 
that is subconscious. 

The intrinsic nature of subconscious processes. Janet 
further brought forward indisputable evidence show- 
ing that in hysteria these subconscious processes 
are real coconscious processes. It is only another 
mode of expressing this to say that there is a dis- 
sociation or division of consciousness in conse- 
quence of which certain ideas do not enter the con- 

* Pierre Janet : L 'automatisme psychologique, Paris, 1889, and 
numerous other works. 


tent of the personal consciousness of the individual. 
It is possible, as he was the first to show, to commu- 
nicate with and, in hypnotic and other dissociated 
states, recover memories of these split-off ideas of 
which the individual is unaware, and thereby estab- 
lish the principle that these ideas are the subcon- 
scious process which induces the hysterical phenom- 
ena. (These phenomena are of a great many kinds 
and include sensory as well as motor automatisms, 
inhibition of thought and will, deliria, visceral, emo- 
tional, and other disturbances of mind and body.) 
The hysterical subconscious process is thus deter- 
mined to be a very specific concrete coconscious proc- 
ess, one, the elements of which are memories and 
other particular ideas. This type of subconscious 
process, therefore, may be regarded as the activated 
residua of antecedent experiences with or without 
secondary elaboration. All subsequent investiga- 
tions during the past twenty-five years have served 
but to confirm the accuracy of Janet's observations 
and conclusions. It would be out of the question at 
this time, before coconscious ideas have been sys- 
tematically studied, to attempt to present the evi- 
dence on which this interpretation of certain sub- 
conscious phenomena rests. This will be done in 
other lectures.* I will simply say that this evi- 
dence for coconsciousness occurring in certain spe- 
cial conditions, artificial and pathological, and per- 
haps as a constituent of the normal content of con- 
sciousness, is of precisely the same character as 

* Not included in this volume. 


that for the occurrence of consciousness in any 
other individual but one 's self. If we reject the evi- 
dence of hysterical phenomena, of that furnished 
by a coconscious personality, and by automatic 
script and speech, etc., we shall have to reject pre- 
cisely similar evidence for consciousness in other 
people than ourselves.* The evidence is explicit 
and not implied. 

A subconscious personality is a condition where (^ 
complexes of subconscious processes have been con- 
stellated into a personal system, manifesting a sec- 
ondary system of self-consciousness endowed with 
volition, intelligence, etc. Such a subconscious per- 
sonality is capable of communicating with the ex- 
perimenter and describing its own mental processes. 
It can, after repression of the primary personality, 
become the sole personality for the time being, and 
then remember its previous subconscious life, as we 
all remember our past conscious life, and can give 
full and explicit information regarding the nature 
of the subconscious process. By making use of the 
testimony of a subconscious personality and its va- 
rious manifestations, we can not only establish the 

* Cf . Prince : The Dissociation ; also A Symposium on the Sub- 
conscious, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, June- July, 1907; Ex- 
periments to Determine Coconscious (Subconscious) Ideation, Jour- 
nal of Abnormal Psychology, April-May, 1908; Experiments in 
Psycho-Galvanic Reactions from Coconscious (Subconscious) Ideas in 
a Case of Multiple Personality, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 
June- July, 1908; The Subconscious [Rapports et Comptes Eendus, 
6me Congres International de Psychologic, 1909] ; also, My Life as 
a Dissociated Personality, by B. C. A., Journal of Abnormal Psychol- 
ogy, October-November, 1908. 


actuality of subconscious processes and their intrin- 
sic nature in these conditions, but by prearrange- 
ment with this personality predetermine any par- 
ticular process we desire and study the modes in 
which it influences conscious thought and conduct. 
For instance, we can prescribe a conflict between 
the subconsciousness and the personal conscious- 
ness, between a subconscious wish and a conscious 
wish, or volition, and observe the resultant mental, 
and physical behavior, which may be inhibition of 
thought, hallucinations, amnesia, motor phenomena, 
etc. The possibilities and limitations of subcon- 
scious influences can in this way be experimentally 
studied. Subconscious personalities, therefore, 
afford a valuable means for studying the mechanism 
of the mind.* 

* The conclusion, then, seems compulsory that the 
subconscious processes in many conditions, particu- 
larly those that are artificially induced and those 
that are pathological, are coconscious processes. 

There are other phenomena, however, which re- 
quire the postulation of a subconscious process, yet 
which, when the subconscious is searched by the 

* The value of subconscious personalities for this purpose has 
been overlooked, owing, I suppose, to such conditions being unusual 
and bizarre, and the assumption that they have little in common with 
ordinary subconscious processes. But it ought to be obvious that in 
principle it makes little difference whether a subconscious system is 
constellated into a large self-conscious system called a personality, 
or whether it is restricted to a system limited to a few particular 
coconscious ideas. In the former case the possibilities of its inter- 
fering with the personal consciousness may be more extended and 
more influential, that is all. 


same methods made use of in hysterical phenomena, 
do not reveal explicit evidence of coconsciousness. 
An analysis of the subconscious revelations as well 
as the phenomena themselves seems to favor the 
interpretation that in some cases the underlying 
process is in part and in others wholly unconscious. 
The only ground for the interpretation that all sub- 
conscious processes are wholly conscious is the 
assumption that, as some are conscious, all must be. 
This is as unsound as the assumption that, because 
at the other end of the scale some complex actions 
(e. g., those performed by decerebrated animals) 
are intelligent and yet performed by processes 
necessarily unconscious, 'therefore all actions not 
under the guidance of the personal consciousness 
are performed by unconscious processes. 

If some subconscious processes are unconscious 
they are equivalent to physiological processes such 
as, ex hypothesi, are correlated with all conscious 
processes and perhaps may be identified with them. 
In truth, they mean nothing more nor less than "un- 
conscious cerebration. ' ' 

We can say at once that considering the complex- 
ity and multiformity of psycho-physiological phe- 
nomena there would seem to be no a priori reason 
why all subconscious phenomena must be the same 
in respect to being either coconscious or unconscious ; 
some may be the one and some the other. It is 
plainly a matter of interpretation of the facts and 
there still exists some difference of opinion. The 
problem is a very difficult one to settle by methods 


at present available; yet it can only be settled by 
the same methods, in principle, that we depend upon 
to determine the reality of a personal consciousness 
in other persons than ourselves. No amount of a 
priori argument will suffice. Perhaps some day a 
criterion of a conscious state of which the individual 
is unaware will be found, just as the psycho-galvanic 
phenomenon is possibly a criterion of an effective 
state. Any conclusions which we reach at present 
should be regarded as provisional.* 


As one of our foremost psychologists has said, 
the subconscious is not only the most important 
problem of psychology, it is the problem. But of 

* Of course, from a practical (clinical) point of view, it is of no 
consequence whether given phenomena are induced by coconscious or 
unconscious processes; the individual is not aware of either. Let me 
answer, however, a strange objection that has been made to such 
an inquiry. It has been objected that as it makes no practical 
difference whether the subconscious process, which induces a given 
phenomenon, is coconscious or unconscious, and as in many given 
cases it is difficult or impossible to determine the question, therefore, 
that such inquiries are useless. Plainly such an objection only 
concerns applied science, not science itself. It concerns only the 
practicing physician who deals solely with reactions. Likewise it 
makes no difference to the practicing chemist whether some atoms 
are positive and some negative ions, and whether on further analysis 
they are systems of electrons, and whether, again, electrons are points 
of electricity. The practical chemist deals only with reactions. Such 
questions, however, having to do with the ultimate nature of matter 
are of the highest interest to science. Likewise the nature of sub- 
conscious processes is of the highest interest to psychological science. 


course it involves many problems of practical and 
theoretical interest. Among them are: 

First of all the evidential justification of the 
postulation of subconscious processes in general. 

Second; the intrinsic nature of such processes. 
In other words and more specifically, whether the 
neurograms of experiences after becoming active 
subconscious processes continue to be devoid of con- 
sciousness, nothing but a brain process, i. e., un- 
conscious; or whether in becoming activated they 
become conscious (monism), or acquire conscious 
equivalents (parallelism), notwithstanding they are 
outside (dissociated from) the content of the per- 
sonal consciousness. 

Third; the kind and complexity of functions a 
subconscious process can perform. Can it perform 
the same functions as are ordinarily performed by 
conscious intelligence (as we commonly understand 
that term) ; that is to say memory, perception, rea- 
soning, imagination, volition, affectivity, etc.? If 
so, to what extent? 

Fourth; are the processes of the conscious mind 
only a part of a larger mechanism of which a sub- 
merged part is a subconscious process? 

Fifth; to what extent can and do subconscious 
processes determine the processes of the conscious 
mind and bodily behavior in normal and abnormal 

These are some of the problems of the subcon- 
scious which for the most part have been only in- 
completely investigated. 


It is, of course, beyond the scope of these intro- 
ductory lectures to discuss with any completeness 
the evidence at hand bearing upon these problems 
or to even touch upon many of the points involved. 
We may, however, study more deeply than we have 
done some of the phenomena with which we have 
become familiar with a view to seeing what light 
they throw upon some of these problems, particu- 
larly the first three. 

1, 2, and 3; Actuality, Intrinsic Nature and Intelligence 
of Subconscious Processes. As to the first question, 
whether subconscious processes can be established 
in principle as a sound induction from experimental 
and clinical facts and not merely as a hypothetical 
concept, I have already pointed out that many mani- 
festations of conservation already cited in the ex- 
position of the theory of memory are of equal evi- 
dential value for the actuality of such processes. 
Let us now consider them in more detail from the 
point of view, more particularly, of the second and 
third questions the intrinsic nature (whether co- 
conscious or unconscious) and intelligence of the 
underlying processes at work. In any given case 
however the actuality of the subconscious process 
must always be first demonstrated. 

If we leave aside those conditions (hysteria, cocon- 
scious personalities) wherein specific memory of a 
coconscious process can be recovered, or such a 
process can be directly communicated with (auto- 
matic writing and speech), the conditions required 


for the valid postulation of a subconscious process 
underlying any given phenomenon are: first, that 
the causal factor shall be positively known; second, 
that it shall be an antecedent experience ; and, third, 
that it shall not be in the content of consciousness 
at the moment of the occurrence of the phenomenon. 
If the causal factor and the phenomenon are both 
known, then the only unknown factor to be deter- 
mined is the process, if any, intervening between 
the two. If this is not in consciousness, a subcon- 
scious process must be postulated. 

Obviously, if the known causal factor is immedi- 
ately related to the caused phenomenon, the sub- 
conscious process must be the causal factor itself. 
But if the known causal factor is not immediately 
related to the caused phenomenon, there must be an 
intervening process which must be subconscious, 
perhaps consisting of a succession of processes 
eventuating in the final phenomenon. For instance, 
if the causal factor is a hypnotic suggestion (for 
which there is afterwards amnesia) that the sub- 
ject when awake shall automatically raise the right 
arm, a subconscious process w T hich is the memory of 
that suggestion immediately provokes the automatic 
phenomenon. If, however, the suggestion is that 
of a series of automatic actions involving compli- 
cated behavior, or if it is a mathematical calculation, 
the intervening process which provokes the end re- 
sult must not only be subconscious but must be a 
more or less complicated succession of processes. 

When, on the other hand, the causal factor is not 


known but only inferred with greater or less prob- 
ability, the justification of the postulation of a sub- 
conscious process may be invalidated by the uncer- 
tainty of the inference. If for example a person 
raises his right hand or has a number come into 
his head without obvious cause, any Inferred ante- 
cedent experience as the causal factor must be open 
to more or less doubt, and, therefore, a subconscious 
process cannot be postulated with certainty. This 
uncertainty seriously affects the validity of con- 
clusions drawn from clinical phenomena where the 
antecedent experience as well as a subconscious proc- 
ess must be inferred and perhaps even a matter of 

Let us examine then, a few selected phenomena 
where the causal factor in the process is a known 
antecedent conscious experience, one which can be 
logically related to the succeeding phenomenon only 
by the postulation of an intervening process of 
some kind. By an analysis of the antecedent ex- 
perience and the caused phenomenon into their con- 
stituent elements we shall often be able to infer 
the functional characteristics of this intervening 
process. Then, if the subject is a favorable one, 
by the use of hypnotic and other methods we may 
be able to obtain an insight into the intrinsic nature 
of the subconscious process and determine how far 
it is conscious and how far unconscious. Neces- 
sarily the most available phenomena are those ex- 
perimentally induced. We can arrange beforehand 
the causal experience and the phenomenon which it 


is to determine an hallucination, a motor automa- 
tism, a dream, a conscious process of thought, or 
the product of an intellectual operation. The num- 
ber of observations we shall examine might be made 
much larger and the types more varied. Those I have 
selected have such close analogies with certain expe- 
riences of everyday and pathological life that what is 
found to be true of them will afford valuable funda- 
mentals in the elucidation of these latter experiences.* 

Subconscious processes in which the causal factor was 
antecedently known I. The evidential value of post- 
hypnotic phenomena ranks perhaps in the first place 
for our purpose as the conditions under which they 
occur are largely under control. Among these 
showing subconscious processes of a high order of 
intelligence are : 

(a) The well-known subconscious mathematical 
calculations which I cited in a previous lecture 
(p. 96). There is no possible explanation of this 
phenomenon except that the calculation was a sub- 
conscious process and done either coconsciously or 
unconsciously. That it may be done, in some 
cases, by coconscious processes of which the subject 
is unaware is substantiated by the evidence.f In 

* I have passed over the classical hysterical phenomena as they 
open a very large subject which needs a special treatment by itself. 
The subconscious processes underlying them, so far as they have 
been determined, are, as I have explained, admittedly coconscious, 
though some may be in part unconscious. They are too complicated 
to be entered into here. 

t Prince: Experiments to Determine Coconscious (Subconscious) 
Ideation, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, April-May, 1908. 


other cases this does not appear to be wholly the 
case if we can rely upon hypnotic memories. We 
will examine this process in connection with: 

(b) A second class of post-hypnotic phenomena, 
namely, those of suggested actions carried out by 
the subject more or less automatically, in a sort of 
absent-minded way, without his being aware of 
what he is doing. The subject is directed in hyp- 
nosis to perform such or such an action after being 
awakened. Sometimes the suggested action is per- 
formed consciously, the suggested ideas with their 
impulses arising in his mind, but without his know- 
ing why. In other instances, however, he performs 
the action automatically without being consciously 
aware at the moment that he is doing it, his atten- 
tion being directed toward something else. Such 
actions must be performed by some kind of subcon- 
scious processes instigated by the ideas suggested in 

Now hypnotic and other technically evoked mem- 
ories sometimes reveal the conscious content of the 
processes involved in both classes of phenomena. 
For instance : two intelligent subjects, who have 
been the object of extensive observations on this 
point, are able to recall in hypnosis the previous 
occurrence of coconscious ideas of a peculiar char- 
acter. The description of these ideas has been very 
precise and has carried a conviction, I believe, to 
all those who have had an opportunity to be present 
at these observations that these recollections were 


true memories and not fabrications.* The state- 
ments of these subjects is that in their own cases, 
under certain conditions of everyday life, cocon- 
scious ideas of ivhich the principal consciousness is 
not aware emerge into the subconscious, persist for 
a longer or shorter time, and then subside to be re- 
placed by others. So long as the conditions of their 
occurrence continue these coconscious ideas keep 
coming and going, interchanging with one another. 
Sometimes these ideas take the form of images, or 
what is described as visual "pictures." When the 
conditions are those of the subconscious solution of 
a mathematical calculation then the same ' ' pictures ' ' 
occur and take the form of the figures involved in 
the calculation ; the figures come and go, apparently 
add, subtract, and multiply themselves until the 
final result appears in figures. An example will 
make this clear. 

While the subject was in hypnosis the problem 
was given to add 458 and 367, the calculation to be 

* Among these I might mention the names of a dozen or more 
well-known psychologists and physicians of experience and repute who 
have observed one or both of these cases. Through the kindness of 
Dr. G. A. Waterman I have had an opportunity to investigate a 
third case, one of his patients, who described similar coconscious 
"pictures" accompanying certain impulsive conscious acts. The pic- 
tures, when of persons, were described as ' ' life size, ' ' and were 
likened to those of a cinematograph. Also, as with one of my cases, 
suggested post-hypnotic actions were accompanied by such cocon- 
scious pictures representing in successive stages the act to be per- 
formed. An analysis of both the impulsive and the suggested phe- 
nomena seemed to clearly show that the pictures emerged from a 
deeper lying submerged process induced by the residuum of a dream 
and of the suggestion, respectively. 


done subconsciously after she was awake. The 
problem was successfully accomplished in the usual 
way. The mode in which the calculation was 
effected was then investigated with the following 
result : In what may be termed for convenience the 
secondary consciousness, i. e., the subconsciousness, 
the numbers 458 and 367 appeared as distinct visu- 
alizations. These numbers were placed one over 
the other, "with a line underneath them such as 
one makes in adding. The visualization kept com- 
ing and going; sometimes the line was crooked and 
sometimes it was straight. The secondary con- 
sciousness did not do the sum at once, but by piece- 
meal. It took a long time before it was completed. ' ' 
The sum was not apparently done as soon as one 
would do it when awake, by volitional calculation, 
"but rather the figures added themselves, in a curi- 
ous sort of way. The numbers were visualized and 
the visualization kept coming and going and the 
columns at different times added themselves, as it 
seemed, the result appearing at the bottom." In 
another problem (453 to be multiplied by 6) the 
process was described as follows: The numbers 
were visualized in a line, thus, 453 x 6. Then the 
6 arranged itself under the 453. The numbers kept 
coming and going the same as before. Sometimes, 
however, they added themselves, and sometimes the 
6 subtracted itself from the larger number. Finally, 
however, the result was obtained. As in the first 
problem, the numbers kept coming and going in the 
secondary consciousness until the problem was 


solved and then they ceased to appear. It is to be 
understood, of course, that the principal or per- 
sonal consciousness was not aware of these cocon- 
scious figures, or even that any calculation was 
being or to be performed. 

In suggested post-hypnotic actions, the pictures 
that come and go correspond to and represent the 
details of the action as it is carried out. Each 
detail is preceded or accompanied by its coconscious 
image or picture. Likewise, when somatic phe- 
nomena have followed dreams, pictures represent- 
ing certain elements of the dream have appeared 
as secondary conscious states. When the subject 
has been disturbed by some unsolved moral or social 
problem (not suggested) the pictures have been 
symbolic representations of the disturbing doubts 
and scruples.* 

One of these two subjects, while in hypnosis and 
able to recollect what goes on in the secondary con- 
sciousness, thus describes the coconscious process 
during the spontaneous subconscious solution of 
problems. "When a problem on which my waking 
self is engaged remains unsettled, it is still kept in 
mind by the secondary consciousness even though 
put aside by my waking self. My secondary con- 
sciousness often helps me to solve problems which 
my waking consciousness has found difficulty in 
doing. But it is not my secondary consciousness 

* Cf . Lecture IV. These coconscious pictures are so varied and 
occur in so many relations that they need to be studied by them- 


that accomplishes the final solution itself, but it 
helps in the following way: Suppose, for instance, 
I am trying to translate a difficult passage in Vir- 
gil. I work at it for some time and am puzzled. 
Finally, unable to do it, I put it aside, leaving it 
unsolved. I decide that it is not worth bothering 
about and so put it out of my mind. But it is a 
mistake to say you put it out of your mind. What 
you do is, you put it into your mind ; that is to say, 
you don't put it out of your mind if the problem 
remains unsolved and unsettled. By putting it into 
your mind I mean that, although the waking con- 
sciousness may have put it aside, the problem still 
remains in the secondary, consciousness. In the 
example I used the memory of the passage from 
Virgil would be retained persistently by my secon- 
dary consciousness. Then from time to time a 
whole lot of fragmentary memories and thoughts 
connected with the passage would arise in this con- 
sciousness. Some of these thoughts, perhaps, would 
be memories of the rules of grammar, or different 
meanings of words in the passage, in fact, anything 
I had read, or thought, or experienced in connection 
with the problem. These would not be logical, con- 
nected thoughts, and they would not solve the prob- 
lem. My secondary consciousness does not actually 
do this, i. e., in the example taken, translate the 
passage. The translation is not effected here. But 
later when my waking consciousness thinks of the 
problem again, these fragmentary thoughts of my 


secondary consciousness arise in my mind, and with 
this information I complete the translation. The 
actual translation is put together by my waking 
consciousness.* I am not conscious of the fact that 
these fragments of knowledge existed previously in 
my secondary consciousness. I do not remember 
a problem ever to have been solved by the secondary 
consciousness.! It is always solved by the waking 
self, although the material for solving it may come 
from the secondary. When my waking conscious- 
ness solves it in this way, the solution seems to 
come in a miraculous sort of way, sometimes as if 
it came to me from somewhere else than my own 

* This, of course, so far as she could determine from the data 
of memory. The more correct interpretation probably is that 
the thoughts of the ' ' secondary consciousness ' ' were supplied by a 
still deeper underlying subconscious process, certain elements of which 
emerged as dissociated conscious states (not in the focus of atten- 
tion). This same process probably was the real agent in doing the 
actual translation, and later thrust the necessary data into awareness 
in such fashion that the translation seemed to be performed con- 
sciously. If all the required data is supplied to consciousness the 
problem is thereby done. 

t The subject here, of course, refers not to experimental but to 
spontaneous solutions. When experimentally performed the whole 
problem was solved subconsciously. Furthermore, a memory of a de- 
tail of this kind of remote experiences obviously would not be re- 
liable, but only immediately after an experience. In fact, sponta- 
neous solutions sometimes occurred entirely subconsciously. (Cf. 
Lecture VII.) In the experimental calculation experiments the 
solution is made subconsciously in accordance with the prescribed 
conditions of the experiment. In other observations on this sub- 
ject the coconscious pictures represented past experiences of the 
subject, much as do crystal visions, and suggest that these past 
experiences were functioning unconsciously. 


mind. I have sometimes thought, in consequence, 
that I had solved it in my sleep." 

A series of observations conducted with a fourth 
subject (0. N.) gave the following results, briefly 
summarized. (This subject, like the others, is prac- 
ticed in introspection and can differentiate her 
memories with precision.) She distinguishes "two 
strata" in her mental processes (an upper and 
lower). The "upper stratum" consists of the 
thoughts in the focus of attention. The lower (also 
called the background of her mind) consists of the 
perceptions and thoughts which are not in the focus. 
This stratum, of course, corresponds with what is 
commonly recognized as the fringe of conscious- 
ness, and, as is usual, when her attention is directed 
elsewhere she is not aware of it. She can, however, 
bring this fringe within the field of attention and 
then she becomes aware of, or rather remembers, 
its content during the preceding moment. To be 
able to do this is nothing out of the ordinary, but 
what is unusual is this: by a trick of abstraction 
which she has long practiced, she can bring the 
memory of the fringe or stratum into the full light 
of awareness and then it is discovered that it has 
been exceedingly rich in thoughts, far richer than 
ordinary attention would show and a fringe is sup- 
posed to be. It is indeed a veritable coconscious- 
nesst in which there goes on a secondary stream of 
thoughts often of an entirely different character 

* Prince: Some of the Present Problems of Abnormal Psychol- 
Og? r Congress of Arts and Sciences, St. Louis, 1904, V. 5, p. 770. 


and with different affects from those of the upper 
stratum. It is common for thoughts which she has 
resolutely put out of her mind as intolerable or un- 
acceptable, or problems which have not been solved, 
to continue functioning in the lower stratum with- 
out entering awareness* She can, however, at any 
time become aware of them by the trick of abstrac- 
tion referred to, and sometimes they emerge appar- 
ently spontaneously and suddenly! replace the 
"upper stratum." In hypnosis also the content of 
the lower stratum can be distinctly recalled. 

Now the point I have been coming to is, the sub- 
ject has acquired the habit of postponing the deci- 
sion of many everyday problems and giving them, 
as a matter of convenience, to this second stratum 
or fringe to solve. She puts one aside, that is out of 
(or into] her mind and it goes into this stratum. 
Then, later, when the time for action comes, she 

* Practically similar conditions I have found in B. C. A., and 
Miss B., though described by the subjects in different phraseology. 

t For instance, to take a sensational example, on one occasion in 
the midst of hilarity while singing, laughing, etc., she suddenly be- 
came depressed and burst into tears. What happened was this: It 
was a sorrowful anniversary, and in the "lower stratum" sad mem- 
ories had been recurring during the period of hilarity. These mem- 
ories had come into consciousness early in the morning, but she had 
resolutely put them out of her mind. They had, however, kept re- 
curring in the lower stratum, and suddenly emerged into the upper 
stratum of consciousness with the startling effect described. More 
commonly, however, the emergence of the lower stratum is simply a 
shifting play of thought. It is interesting to note that censored 
thoughts and temptations are apt to go into the lower stratum and 
here with their affects continue at play. These sometimes reappear 
as dreams. 


voluntarily goes into abstraction, becomes aware of 
the subconscious thoughts of the second stratum 
and, lo and behold! the problem is found to be 
solved. If a plan of action, all the details are found 
arranged as if planned "consciously." If asked a 
moment before what plans had been decided upon 
and decision reached she would have been obliged 
in her conscious ignorance to reply, "I don't 
know. ' ' * 

An analysis of these different observations shows, 

* The validity of the evidence of memory as applied to sub- 
conscious processes needs to be carefully weighed. It is a question 
of method, and if the method is fallacious all conclusions fall to the 
ground. In the sciences of normal psychology and psychiatry and 
psychopathology, the data given by memory are and necessarily must 
be relied upon to furnish a knowledge of the content of mental proc- 
esses and the mental symptoms, and all methods of psychological 
analysis are based on the data of memory. Without such data there 
could be no such sciences. As a matter of experience the method is 
found to be reliable when properly checked by multiple observations. 
If by special methods of technique mental processes, which do not 
enter the awareness of the moment, are later brought into conscious- 
ness as data of memory, are these data per contra to be rejected as 
hallucinatory? This is what their rejection would mean. Now, as 
a fact, there are phenomena, like coconscious personalities, which 
compel the postulation of coconscious processes. If this is the case, 
if there are coconscious processes which do not enter awareness, it 
would be tne strangest thing if there were not conditions of the 
personality in which a memory of these processes could be ob- 
tained. This fact would have to be explained. The bringing of co- 
conscious processes into consciousness as data of memory does not 
seem therefore to be anything a priori improbable and there would 
seem to be no reason why the memory of them should be more un- 
reliable than that of conscious processes in the forms of attention. 
Indeed, if the fringe of consciousness be regarded as coconscious, it 
is an every-day act common to everybody. Such data necessarily 
should be checked up by multiple observations. 


first, that the post-hypnotic phenomena calcula- 
tions (a) and actions (b) were performed by a 
subconscious process. Of this there can be no man- 
ner of doubt, even if the subsequent hypnotic mem- 
ories of the process be rejected as untrustworthy. 
The phenomenon the answer to the mathematical 
problem in the one case and the motor acts in the 
other is so logically related to the suggestion, and 
can be predicted with such certainty, that only a 
causal relation can be admitted. 

Second, in the calculation phenomena the process 
is clearly of an intellectual character requiring 
reasoning and the cooperation of mathematical 
memory. (Reasoning is more conspicuous when the 
problem is more complicated, as in the calculation 
of the number of seconds intervening between, say, 
twenty-two minutes past eleven and seventeen min- 
utes past three o'clock.)* The phenomenon is the 
solution of a problem. 

The final phenomenon was not immediately re- 
lated to the suggested idea. It was the final result 
of a quite long series of logical processes of a more 
or less complex character occurring over a period 
of time as in conscious calculation. Conation (voli- 
tion?) would seem also to be essential to carry the 
suggested idea to fulfilment. Subconscious cogni- 
tion would seem also to be required. There must 
have been an intelligent appreciation of what the 

* Tor examples of this kind, see Prince, Experiments to Determine 
Coconscioua Ideation, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, April-Maj, 


problem was and as soon as the solution was accom- 
plished the process stopped. Random figuring did 
not continue. 

In the post-hypnotic motor acts conation is obvi- 
ous. Here too there is a series of subconscious proc- 
esses covering a period of time and carrying out a 
purpose. The suggested causal idea did not include 
the acts necessary for the fulfillment of the idea. 
Each step was adapted to an end, ceased as soon as 
it accomplished that end, and was followed by an- 
other in logical sequence, the whole taking place as 
if performed by an intelligence. Reasoning may or 
may not be involved according to the complexity of 
the actions. 

Third; the coconscious figures in the calculation 
experiments do not constitute the whole of the proc- 
ess. They would seem to be the product of some 
deeper underlying process. The figures "kept com- 
ing and going" and seemed to "add themselves." 
There was no conscious process that related the 
figures to one another and determined whether the 
problem was one of addition or multiplication as 
is the case when we do a calculation consciously; 
that is to say, of course, if the hypnotic personality 
remembered the whole of the conscious calculation. 
It was more as if there was an underlying uncon- 
scious process which did the calculation, certain 
final results of which appeared as dissociated states 
of consciousness, i. e., figures which did not enter 
the personal consciousness. The process reminds us 
of the printing of visible letters by the concealed 


works of a typewriter; or of visible letters of an 
electrically illuminated sign appearing and disap- 
pearing according as the concealed mechanism is 
worked. This interpretation is in entire accord 
with the spontaneous occurrence of the coconscious 
images during the everyday life of these subjects. 
These images were pictorial representations of an- 
tecedent thoughts and seemed to be the products 
or elements of these thoughts apparently function- 
ing as underlying unconscious processes. Likewise, 
in post-hypnotic suggested actions, I have not been 
able to obtain memories of coconscious thoughts 
directing the actions, but only the images described. 
These behave as if they were the product of another 
underlying process determining the action. Infer- 
ences of this sort are as compulsory as the inference 
that the illumination of a sensitive plate observed in 
the study of radio-activity must be due to the bom- 
bardment of the plate by invisible particles emitted 
by the radio-active substance. These particles and 
the process which ejects them can only be inferred 
from the effects which they produce. So, in the 
above observations, it would seem as if the cocon- 
scious figures, and other images involved, must be 
ejected as conscious phenomena by an underlying 
process. There is no explicit evidence that this is 

I said advisedly, a moment ago, "if the hypnotic 
personality remembered the whole of the conscious 
calculation, ' ' for, as a matter of fact, we find, when 
we examine several different hypnotic states in the 


same subject, that their memories for coconscious 
ideas are not coextensive, one (or more) being fuller 
than another. Indeed in certain states there may 
not be any such memories at all. It is necessary, 
therefore, to obtain by hypnosis a degree of disso- 
ciation which will allow the complete memories of 
this kind to be evoked. In the subjects I made use 
of this procedure was followed. Theoretically it 
might be held that, no matter how complete the mem- 
ories evoked in the various states, some other state 
might possibly be obtained in which still more com- 
plete memory would be manifested. Theoretically 
this is true and all conclusions are subject to this 
criticism. Practically, however, I found, when mak- 
ing these investigations, that I seemed to have come 
to the limit of such possibilities, for, obtain as I 
would new dissociated arrangements of personality, 
after a certain point no additional memories could 
be evoked. There is still another possibility that 
there may be coconscious processes for which no 
memories can be evoked by any method or in any 

II. Artificially induced visual hallucinations with 
which we have already become familiar can, as we 
have seen, only be interpreted as the product of 
subconscious processes. If only because of the im- 
portant part that hallucinations play in insanity 
and other pathological states and of the frequency 
with which they occur in normal people (mystics 
and others), the characteristics of the subconscious 
process are well worth closer study. What is found 


to be true of the experimental type is probably true 
of the spontaneous variety whether occurring in 
pathological or normal conditions. Indeed, as we 
shall see, spontaneous hallucinations have the same 
characteristics. We have considered them thus far 
only from two points of view, viz. (1) as evidence 
of conservation of forgotten experiences, and (2) as 
evidence for specific residua of such experiences 
functioning as subconscious processes. Now, arti- 
ficial visual hallucinations, like the spontaneous 
ones, may be limited relatively speaking to what 
is apparently little more than an exact reproduc- 
tion of an antecedent visual perception, e. g., a 
person or object. But, generally speaking, it is 
more than this and when analyzed will be found 
almost always to be the expression of a complicated 
process. For instance, take the relatively simple 
crystal vision, of the subject smoking a cigarette 
in a particular situation during hypnosis, which I 
have previously cited. (Lecture III.) As a matter 
of fact, the subject had no primary visual percep- 
tions at the time of the original episode at all. She 
was in hypnosis, her eyes were closed, and she did 
not and could not see herself (particularly her own 
face) or the cigarette or her surroundings. And 
yet the vision pictured everything exactly as it had 
occurred in my presence, even to the expression of 
her features. Looking into the crystal the subject 
saw herself sitting in a particular place, enacting a 
series of movements, talking and smoking a cigar- 
ette with a peculiar smile and expression of enjoy- 


ment on her face.* For this experience there was 
complete amnesia after waking from hypnosis and 
at the time of the vision. 

Now consider further the facts and their impli- 
cations. In the mechanism of the process eventuat- 
ing in the visual phenomenon we obviously have two 
known factors: the antecedent causal factor the 
hypnotic episode and, after a time interval, the 
end result the vision. As there was no conscious 
memory of the hypnotic episode the neurograms of 
the latter must have functioned subconsciously to 
have produced the vision. But what particular 
neurograms? As the subject's eyes had been closed 
in hypnosis, and, in any event, as she could not have 
seen her own face, there were at the time no visual 
perceptions of herself smoking a cigarette, and 
therefore the vision could not have been simply a re- 
production of a visual experience. There were, how- 
ever, tactual, gustatory, and other perceptions and 
ideas of self and environment, and these perceptions 
and ideas of course possessed secondary visual im- 
ages.^ The simplest mechanism would be that the 
neurograms of this complex of perception and ideas 
of self, etc., functioned subconsciously and their 
secondary visual images emerged into consciousness 
to be the vision. I give this as the simplest mechan- 
ism by which we can conceive of a visual representa- 

* The Dissociation, pp. 55, 56. 

f It is only necessary to close one 's eyes, then grimace and move 
one's limbs to become conscious of these secondary images which 
picture each movement of the features, etc. 


tion of an antecedent experience emerging out of a 
subconscious process.* There is a considerable body 
of data supporting this interpretation. 

But the original experiences of the episode in- 
cluded more than the mere perceptions and move- 
ments of the subject. They included trains of 
thought and enjoyment of the cigarette smoking 
experience. All formed a complex of which the 
tactual and other perceptions of self were subordi- 
nate elements. At one moment, of course, one ele- 
ment, and, at another moment another element, had 
been in the focus of awareness, the others becoming 
shifted into the fringe where at all times were sec- 
ondary visual images of herself. Did the subcon- 
scious process underlying the vision include the 
whole of this complex? As to this, one peculiarity 
of the vision has much significance. In behavior it 
acted after the manner of a cinematographic or 
"moving picture," and delineated each successive 
movement of the episode, as if a rapid series of 
photographs had been taken for reproduction. In 

* The mechanism is probably not quite so simple as this, proba- 
bly past visual perceptions of self and the environment took part, so 
that the vision was a fusion or composite of these older primary 
images and the secondary images. The principle of mechanism, how- 
ever, would not be affected by this added element. Sidis (The Doc- 
trine of Primary and Secondary Sensory Elements, Psych. Bev., 
January-March, 1908) has maintained that all hallucinations are the 
emerging of the secondary images of previous perceptions. If, on 
the other hand, the vision be interpreted as something fabricated by 
the subconscious process as must be the case with some hallucina- 
tions then this process must have been much more complicated than 
memory. Something akin at least to constructive imagination and 
intelligence that translated the experiences into visual terms. 


this manner even the emotional and changing play 
of the features of the vision-self, expressive of the 
previous thoughts and enjoyment, were depicted. 
Such a cinematographic series of visual images 
would seem to require a concurrent subconscious 
process to produce the successive changes in the 
hallucinatory images. As these changes apparently 
correspond from moment to moment with the 
changes that had occurred in the content of con- 
sciousness during the causal episode, it would also 
seem that the subconscious process was a reproduc- 
tion in subconscious terms of substantially the whole 
original mental episode. This conclusion is forti- 
fied by the following additional facts: In many 
experiments of this kind, if the subject's face be 
watched during the visualization, it will be observed 
that it shows the same play of features as is dis- 
played by the vision face* and the visualizer at the 
same moment experiences the same emotion as is 
expressed by the features of the vision facefi and 
sometimes knows "what her [my] vision self is 
thinking about." In other words, in particular in- 
stances, sometimes the feelings alone and sometimes 
both the thoughts and feelings expressed in panto- 
mime in the hallucination arise at the same moment 
in consciousness. This would seem to indicate that 
the same processes which determined the mimetic 
play of features in the hallucination were deter- 
mining at the same moment the same play in the 

* That is to say, as described by the visualizer. 
t Cf. The Dissociation, pp. 211-220. 


features of the visualizer, and that these processes 
were a subconscious memory of substantially all the 
original perceptions and thoughts. That is to say, 
this memory in such cases remains sometimes en- 
tirely subconscious and sometimes emerges into con- 
sciousness. The hallucination is simply a projected 
visualization induced by what is taking place sub- 
consciously .in the subject's mind at the moment. 
Whether this shall remain entirely subconscious or 
shall emerge partially or wholly into consciousness 
depends upon psychological conditions peculiar to 
the subject. 

That even when the thoughts of the causal experi- 
ence emerge in consciousness along with the vision 
a portion of the functioning complex e. g., the per- 
ceptual elements may still remain submerged is 
shown by the following example: The vision, one 
of several of the same kind, portrayed in pantomime 
an elaborate nocturnal somnambulistic act. It rep- 
resented the subject walking in her sleep with eyes 
closed; then sitting before the fire in profound and 
depressing thought; then joyously dancing; then 
writing letters, etc., and finally ascending the stairs, 
unconsciously dropping one of the letters from her 
hand on the way* and returning to bed. During 
the visualization the thoughts and feelings of the 
vision-self, even the contents of the letters, arose in 

* At this point the subject watching the vision remarked, "I drop 
one of the letters, but I do not know I have done so." In other 
words, conscious of the content of the somnambulist 's consciousness, 
the visualizer knows that there is no awareness of this act. Tho 
letter was afterward found by the servant on the stairs. 


the mind of the visualizer whose features and tone 
of voice betrayed the feelings. 

The point to be noted in this observation is that 
the vision reproduced as a detail of the somnambu- 
listic act the accidental dropping of a letter from 
the hand of the somnambulist who was unaware of 
the fact; it reproduced what was not in conscious 
experience. How came it that an act for which 
there had been no awareness could appear in the 
vision? The only explanation is that originally in 
the somnambulistic state, a is so commonly ob- 
served in hypnotic somnambulism, there was a sub- 
conscious tactual perception (with secondary visual 
images?) of dropping the letter and now the mem- 
ory of this antecedent perception, functioning sub- 
consciously, induced this detail of the vision. The 
general conclusion then would seem to be justified 
that this hallucination was determined by a fairly 
large complex of antecedent somnambulistic experi- 
ences of which a part emerged as the hallucination 
and the thoughts of the somnambulist into con- 
sciousness, and a part the tactual and other per- 
ceptions remained submerged as the subconscious* 
process. How much more may have been contained 
in this process the facts do not enable us to deter- 

An examination, then, of even the more simple 
artificial hallucinations discloses that underlying 
them there is a residual process which is quite an 
extensive subconscious memory of antecedent 
thoughts, perceptions and affective experiences. 


Whether this memory is only an unconscious func- 
'tioning neurogram or whether it is also a cocon- 
scious memory, or partly both, cannot be determined 
from the data.* The bearing of these results upon 
the interpretation of insane hallucinations is obvi- 

Our examination of subconscious processes in the 
two classes of phenomena thus far studied post 
hypnotic phenomena and artificial hallucinations- 
permits the following general conclusions: First, 
there is positive evidence to show that in some in- 
stances, in their intrinsic nature, they are cocon- 
scious. In other instances, in the absence of such evi- 
dence, it is permissible to regard them as uncon- 
scious. Second, that in the quality of the functions 
performed they frequently exhibit that which is 
characteristic of Intelligence. This characteristic 
will be seen to be still more pronounced in the phe- 
nomena which we shall next study. 

* Coconscious ideas may provoke hallucinations. (For examples 
consult "Hallucinations" in Index to The Dissociation.) 




III. Subconscious intelligence underlying spon- 
taneous hallucinations. Spontaneous hallucinations 
often offer opportunities to study subconscious proc- 
esses exhibiting constructive intelligence. Although 
properly belonging to clinical phenomena, they often 
can be so clearly related to an antecedent experience 
as to allow us to determine the causal factor with the 
same exactness as in the experimental type, and, 
therefore, to infer the connecting subconscious link 
with equal probability. Some of these spontaneous 
visions indicate that the subconscious link must 
be of considerable complexity and equivalent to 
logical processes of reasoning, volition, and pur- 
posive intelligence. Sometimes the same subcon- 
scious processes which fabricate the vision deter- 
mine also other processes of conscious thought and 

In illustration I may cite an incident in the life 
of Miss B., which I have previously described : 

"Miss B., as a child, frequently had visions of the Madonna 
and Christ, and used to believe that she had actually seen them. 
It was her custom when in trouble, if it was only a matter of her 
school lessons, or something that she had lost, to resort to prayer. 
Then she would be apt to have a vision of Christ. The vision 



never spoke, but sometimes made signs to her, and the expression 
of His face made her feel that all was well. After the vision 
passed she felt that her difficulties were removed, and if it was a 
bothersome lesson which she had been unable to understand it all 
became intelligible at once. Or, if it was something that she had 
lost, she at once went to the spot where it was." . . . [For 
example, while under observation.] "Miss B. had lost a bank 
check and was much troubled concerning it. For five days she 
had made an unsuccessful hunt for it, systematically going through 
everything in her room. She remembered distinctly placing the 
check between the leaves of a book, when some one knocked at 
her door, and this was the last she saw of the check. She had be- 
come very much troubled about the matter, and in consequence, 
after going to bed that night she was unable to sleep, and rose sev- 
eral times to make a further hunt. Finally, at 3 o'clock in the morn- 
ing, she went to bed and fell asleep. At 4 o'clock she woke with 
the consciousness of a presence in the room. She arose, and in a 
moment saw a vision of Christ, who did not speak, but smiled. 
She at once felt, as she used to, that everything was well, and that 
the vision foretold that she should find the check. All her anxiety 
left her at once. The figure retreated toward the bureau, but the 
thought flashed into her mind that the lost check was in the 
drawer of her desk. A search, however, showed that it was not 
there. She then walked automatically to the bureau, opened the 
top drawer, took out some stuff upon which she had been sewing, 
unfolded it, and there was the check along with one or two other 

"Neither Miss B. nor BII [hypnosis] has any memory of any 
specific thought which directed her to open the drawer and take 
out her sewing, nor of any conscious idea that the check was 
there. Rather, she did it, so far as her consciousness goes, auto- 
matically, as she used to do automatic writing."* 

Further investigation revealed the fact that the 
money had been put away absent-mindedly and "un- 

* The Dissociation, Appendix L, p. 548. 


consciously"; in hypnosis the memory of this act 
was recovered. 

In this observation we have two so-called auto- 
matic phenomena of different types one a sensory 
automatism, the vision, the other a motor automa- 
tism or actions leading to the finding of the money. 
The motor acts being automatic were necessarily 
determined by subconscious processes and plainly 
required a knowledge of the hiding-place. This 
knowledge also plainly must have been conserved 
in the unconscious and now, in answer to her wish 
to find the lost money, acting as a subconscious proc- 
ess, fulfilled her wish in a practical way. 

The vision was of Christ smiling. Seeing it the 
subject at once "felt that all was well," and her 
anxiety vanished. It was plainly therefore a fabri- 
cated visual symbolism though one which she had 
frequently before experienced. It may be taken as 
a message sent by subconscious processes to her 
anxious consciousness and it is not too much to 
say had a purposive meaning, viz., to allay her 
anxiety. The question is, What was the causal fac- 
tor which determined this symbolism? Logically it 
is a compulsory inference that the same conserved 
knowledge and subconscious processes, which event- 
uated in the motor automatisms, must have been 
the causal factor that determined the visual sym- 
bolism which carried the reassuring message to con- 
sciousness. This subconscious knowledge first 
allayed her anxiety and then proceeded to answer 
her problem of the whereabouts of the lost money. 


More specifically, the primary causal factor was 
the preceding anxious wish to find the money; the 
resulting phenomena were the sensory and motor 
automatisms, allaying the anxiety and fulfilling the 
wish; between the two as connecting links were sub- 
conscious processes of an intelligent, purposive, 
volitional character which first fabricated a visual 
symbolism as a message to consciousness and then 
made use of the conserved knowledge of her previ- 
ous absent-minded act to solve her problem. The 
subconscious process as a whole we thus see was of 
quite a complicated character. In this example it 
is impossible to determine from the data at hand 
whether the subconscious process was coconscious 
or unconscious. 

The observation which I have elsewhere described 
as * ' an hallucination from the subconscious " * is 
an excellent example of an intelligent subconscious 
process indicative of judgment and purpose. The 
hallucination occurred in my presence as a result 
of an antecedent experience for which I was a 
moment before responsible. It was therefore of 
the nature of an experiment and the causal factor 
was known. The antecedent experience consisted 
of certain remarks and behavior of the subject while 
under the influence of an illusion during a dissoci- 
ated state for which there was subsequent amnesia. 
The vision was of a friend whose face was sad, as of 
one who had been injured, and seemed to reproach 

* The Dissociation, Chapter XXXI. 


her. At the same moment she heard his voice which 
said, "How could you have betrayed me?" The 
hallucinatory words and the visual image were in 
no sense a reproduction of the causal, i. e., antece- 
dent, experience. They were the expression of a 
subconscious self-reproach in consequence of that 
experience. This reproach connoted a subconscious 
belief or logical judgment, drawn from the experi- 
ence, that she had broken a promise.* It was a sub- 
conscious reaction to a subconscious belief. I say 
both the reproach and the judgment were subcon- 
scious because, in the dissociated state, owing to the 
illusion, and in the normal after-state owing to the 
amnesia, she was entirely ignorant of having done 
anything that could oe construed into breaking a 
promise. This interpretation of the episode must 
therefore have been entirely subconscious. The self- 
reproach emerged into consciousness but translated 
into visual and auditory hallucinations. These were 
plainly a condemnatory message sent from the sub- 
conscious to the personal -consciousness and might 
aptly be termed "the prickings of a subconscious 
conscience." The primary causal factor was sim- 
ply certain statements (conserved in the uncon- 
scious) made to me by the subject and for which 
afterwards there was amnesia. Intervening be- 
tween this antecedent experience and the resulting 
hallucinatory phenomena a subconscious process 
must be postulated as a necessary connecting link. 

* As a matter of fact, the judgment was erroneous, though a 
justifiable inference. 


This process plainly involved memory and an in- 
telligent judgment, an emotional reaction, and an 
expression of this judgment and reaction trans- 
lated into hallucinatory phenomena. Apparently 
also a distinct purpose to upbraid the personality 
was manifested. 

The accounts of sudden religious conversion are 
full of instances of hallucinations occurring at the 
time of the "crisis" and these visions and voices 
are often logical symbolisms of antecedent 
thoughts of the subject. By analogy with similar 
experimental phenomena we are compelled to inter- 
pret them in the same way and postulate these an- 
tecedent experiences as the causal factors. If this 
postulation is sound then the connecting subcon- 
scious link is often a quite complicated process of 
an intelligent character. 

In one instance in which the occurrence was simi- 
lar in principle to sudden religious conversion I 
was able to determine beyond question the causal 
antecedents of the hallucinatory phenomenon. I 
will not repeat the details here;* suffice it to say 
that the hallucination, consisting of a vision and an 
auditory message from the subject's deceased hus- 
band (see p. 40), answered the doubts and scruples 
with which the subject had been previously tor- 
mented. It was a logical answer calculated to allay 
distressing memories against which she had been 
fighting, "the old ideas of dissatisfaction with life, 
the feelings of injury, bitterness, and rebellion 

* Cf . The Dissociation, 2d edition, p. 567. 


against fate and the 'kicking against the pricks' 
which these memories evoked." It expressed pre- 
viously entertained ideas which she had tried to 
accept but without success. The exposition of this 
answer m the hallucinatory symbolism required a 
subconscious process involving considerable reason- 
ing. The phenomenon as a whole was a message 
addressed to her own consciousness by subconscious 
processes to answer her doubts and anxious ques- 
tionings of herself, and to settle the conflict going 
on in her mind. The logical connection between the 
different elements of this hallucination and certain 
antecedent experiences which had harassed the sub- 
ject are so close that there is no room left for doubt- 
ing that these experiences were the causal factors. 
And so I might analyze a large number of spon- 
taneous hallucinations wherein you would find the 
same evidence for subconscious processes showing 
intelligent constructive imagination, reasoning, voli- 
tion, and purposive effort, and expressing them- 
selves in automatisms which either solve a disturb- 
ing problem or carry to fruition a subconscious pur- 

I offer no excuse for multiplying tnese observa- 
tions of hallucinatory phenomena, even at the ex- 
pense of tedious repetition, for such studies give 
an insight into the mechanism of the hallucinations 
met with in the insanities and other pathological 
states. They offer, too, an insight into the basic 
process involved in dreams as these are a type of 
hallucinatory phenomena. It is by a study of hallu- 


cinations experimentally created, and others where 
we are in a position to know the causal factors, that 
we can learn the mechanisms underlying similar 
phenomena occurring in normal pathological condi- 
tions. As a rule in the latter conditions it is dim- 
cult to determine beyond question the true causal 
factors and, therefore, the particular subconscious 
processes involved. Such phenomena as I have 
presented justify the conclusion of the "new psy- 
chology" that the hallucinations of the insane are 
not haphazard affairs but the resultant of subcon- 
scious processes evoked by antecedent experiences. 
In conclusion, then, we may say that in artificial 
hallucinations as experimentally conducted, and in 
certain spontaneous hallucinations, we have two 
known factors; the causal factor (the antecedent ex- 
perience) and the hallucinatory phenomenon the 
effect. Intervening between the two is an inferred 
subconscious process of considerable complexity 
which is required to explain the causal connection. 
With the exact mechanism of hallucinatory phenom- 
ena we are not at present concerned, but only with 
the evidence of the actuality of a subconscious proc- 
ess, of its character as an intelligence, and with its 
intrinsic nature. 

As to the last problem it is plain that further 
investigations are required and that the methods at 
present at our disposal for its solution leave much 
to be desired. All things considered a conservative 
summing up would be that the subconscious process 
may be both coconscious and unconscious. 


IV. Subconscious intelligence underlying dreams. 
As is well known, Freud advanced the theory, now 
well fortified by numerous observations of others, 
that underlying a dream is a subconscious process 
which fabricates the conscious dream. According to 
Freud and his followers this subconscious process 
is always an antecedent wish and the dream is an 
imaginary fulfillment of that wish. This part of 
the theory (as well as the universality of an under- 
lying process) is decidedly questionable. My own ob- 
servations lead me to believe that a dream may be 
also the expression of antecedent doubts, scruples, 
anxieties, etc., or may be an answer to an unsolved 
problem. We need not concern ourselves with this 
particular question here. I refer to it simply to 
point out that its correct solution depends upon the 
correct determination of the true causal factor 
which is necessarily antecedently unknown and must 
be inferred. It is inferred or selected from the asso- 
ciated memories evoked by the so-called method of 
analysis. Hence it must be always an element open 
to greater or less doubt. Dreams are a type of 
hallucinatory phenomena and therefore we should 
expect that their mechanism would correspond more 
or less closely with that of other hallucinatory phe- 

With the object in view of determining whether 
a dream could be produced experimentally and 
brought within the category of phenomena where 
the causal factor was antecedently known, and thus 
determine the actuality of a subconscious process as 


a necessary intervening link between the two, I 
made the following experiment. It should be noted 
that a wish fulfilment necessarily means a dream 
content so far different in form from the content of 
the wish itself that the postulation of a connecting 
link, conscious or subconscious, is required. I also 
sought, if a subconscious process could be postu- 
lated, to discover how elaborate and what sort of 
a work of constructive imagination a subconscious 
wish could evolve. 

To a suitable subject while in a deep hypnotic 
trance state I gave a suggestion in the form of a 
wish to be worked out to fulfilment in a dream. It 
so happened that this subject was going through 
a period of stress and strain for which she sought 
relief. I also knew that she had a very strong de- 
sire to do a good piece of original psychological 
work and had advised her to take up the work as a 
solution of her difficulties. So, taking advantage 
of this desire, I impressed upon her, for the purpose 
of emphasizing the impulsive force of the desire, 
that she now had the longed-for opportunity as the 
culmination of her previous years of training to 
do the work. I then gave her the following sugges- 
tion: "You want to dd a good piece of original 
work and your dream to-night will be the fulfillment 
of the wish." No hint as to what form the dream 
fulfilment should take was given, nor had she any 
knowledge before being put into the trance state 
that I intended to make an experiment. 

It is interesting to note how the dream has a 


logical form which is unfolded as an argument. 
This itself is an allegorical transcript of the rea- 
sons previously suggested to her for the particular 
solution of her problem. 

The dream was a long one and into it were logi- 
cally introduced as a part of the argument the actual 
distressing circumstances for the relief of which I 
had advised taking up the piece of psychological 
work as an outlet to her feelings and solution of 
her problem of life. I will give in detail only so 
much of the dream as contains the wish fulfilment 
(which became also a part of the dream argument), 
summarizing the remainder. The dream begins 
with an allegorical description of the great task 
involved in the study of psychology by all the work- 
ers of the world. The science of psychology is sym- 
bolized by a temple. "I dreamed I was where they 
were building a great temple or cathedral; an enor- 
mous place covering many acres of ground. Hun- 
dreds of men were building. Some were building 
spires, some were building foundations, and some 
were tearing down what they had built, some parts 
had fallen down of themselves. I was wandering 
around looking on." Then she proceeds to help 
one of the builders who was building a particular 
part of the temple by bringing him material in the 
form of stones. This she had actually done, in real 
life, contributing much psychological material out 
of her own experiences. Many of these experiences 
had been very intimate ones from her inner life and 
had involved much suffering ; hence the stones which 


she contributed in her dream were big and heavy 
and were beyond her strength to carry, so that she 
could only roll them, and some were sharp and 
made her hands bleed, so that her contribution in- 
volved much suffering. This part of the dream 
was not only a prelude to the suggested wish fulfil- 
ment but, as interpreted, contained a wish fulfil- 
ment in itself. 

Then there was interjected an allegorical but very 
accurate description of the distressing circum- 
stances to which I have referred and for which, as 
a problem of life, the suggested work was advised 
as a solution. Then logically followed the wish 
fulfilment and solution. She heard the voice of the 
builder whom she had been helping say to her, 
" 'Now, here are all the materials and you must 
build a temple of your own,' and I [she] said, 'I 
cannot,' and he said, 'you can, and I will help you.' 
So I began to build the stones I had taken him. It 
was hard work, but I kept on, and a most beautiful 
temple grew up. . . . All the stones were very 
brilliant in color, but each one was stained with a 
drop of blood that came from a wound in my heart. 
And the temple grew up; and I Bandied all the 
stones; but somehow the temple grew up of itself 
and lots of people were coming from all directions 
to look at it, and someone, who seemed to be William 
James, said, 'It is the most valuable part of the 
temple,' and I felt very proud. . . .' After an- 
other interjection of the distressing problem of her 
life just alluded to, the dream ends with the figure 


of * ' a beautiful shining angel with golden spreading 
wings and the word 'Hope' written on his fore- 
head." This figure "spread his lovely wings and 
rose right up through the temple and became the 
top of the spire, a gorgeous shining figure of 

After this dream was obtained the subject, who 
had no knowledge that any suggestion had been 
given to induce the dream, was told to analyze the 
dream herself by the method of associative mem- 
ories. As is customary in the use of this method, 
in which she had had considerable experience, the 
memories associated w T ith each element of the dream 
were obtained. These memories all led back di- 
rectly to her interest in psychology and desire to 
contribute some original work, and to her own life's 
experiences. Every one of the dream-elements 
(temple, spires, foundations, stones, bleeding hands, 
drop of blood from the wound in her heart, etc.) 
evoked associative memories which justified the 
inference that these elements were symbolisms of 
past experiences or of constructive imagination. 

* William James had once said to her in my presence that she 
could make a valuable contribution to psychology. It is interesting 
to note, although it is aside from the question at issue, that this 
subject had strenuously denied that there was any "hope," insisting 
that she was absolutely devoid of any such sentiment. Through 
hypnotic memories, however, I was able to demonstrate that this was 
only consciously true, and that there were very evident and strong 
coconscious ideas of hope of which she was not consciously aware. 
She had refused to acknowledge these ideas to herself and by repres- 
sion had dissociated them from the personal consciousness. These 
ideas now expressed themselves symbolically in the dream. 


That this dream was determined by, and the ex- 
plicit imaginary fulfilment of the antecedent wish 
made use of in the experiment and motivated by 
the suggestion would seem to be conclusively shown. 

If, then, in any case a causal relation between an 
antecedent wish and its dream fulfilment exists, it 
follows that there must be some link between that 
wish experienced in the past and the present dream 
fulfilment, some mode, mechanism, or process by 
which a past thought, without entering conscious- 
ness, can continue to its own fulfilment in a con- 
scious work of the imagination, the dream. I say 
without entering consciousness because the original 
specific thought-wish does not appear in the dream 
consciousness, which is only the fulfilment. The 
phenomenon as a whole is also inexplicable unless 
there was some motivating factor or force which 
determined the form of the dream just as in con- 
scious fabrication and argument "we" consciously 
motivate and arrange the form of the product. The 
only logical and intelligible inference is that the 
original tvish, becoming reawakened (by the preced- 
ing suggestion) during sleep, continued to function 
outside of the dream consciousness, as a motivating 
and directing subconscious process. 

But what was the content of this process, and to 
what extent can its elements be correlated with 
those of the dream? The experimental data of this 
dream do not afford an answer to this question. 
(Those of the observation I shall next give will per- 
mit a deeper insight into the character and content 


of their process.) It is a reasonable inference, 
however, inasmuch as the different elements of the 
dream temple, stones, etc., the material out of 
which it is constructed are found to be logical sym- 
bolizations of their associative memories, that these 
memories took part in the subconscious process and 
consequently may be correlated with their dream- 
symbols. In other words the content of the subcon- 
scious process was more than a wish, or wish neu- 
rogram, it included a large complex of memories 
of diverse experiences that can be recognized 
through their symbolizations in the dream. This 
complex, motivated by a particular wish, fabricated 
the dream, just as in the hallucinations I have cited 
an underlying process fabricated the hallucination 
as a symbolic expression of a subconscious judg- 
ment, self-reproach, etc. To do this a process that 
must be termed a subconscious intelligence was re- 
quired. The dream was an allegory, a product of 
constructive imagination in the logical form of an 
argument, and if constructed by an underlying proc- 
ess the latter must have had the same character- 

* We must remember that a dreaming state is a dissociated state 
(like a fugue or trance), and numerous observations have shown that 
in such conditions any of the dormant related experiences of life may 
modify, repress, resist, alter, and determine the content of the dis- 
sociated consciousness. It is difficult to conceive of a dream al- 
legory being constructed by the dream consciousness itself. If that 
were the mechanism, we should expect that the associative ideas for 
which symbols are chosen would appear during the dream construc- 
tion as is the case in waking imagination. The method of the mental 
processes is very different in the latter. We there select from a 


This experimental dream confirms therefore the 
general principle formulated by Freud from the 
analysis of dreams in which the causal factor is an 
inferred wish. It is likewise on the assumption of 
my having correctly inferred this factor that I have 
insisted that a dream may be a fabricated expres- 
sion of thoughts other than wishes or may be the 
solution of an unsolved problem. In this last case 
the dream phenomena and mechanism seem to be 
analogous in every way to the subconscious solu- 
tion of mathematical problems which I have already 
described. In such and other cases the subcon- 
scious process would seem to be a continuation and 
elaboration of the antecedent suggested problem. 

In dreams, then, or, as we should strictly limit 
ourselves for the present to saying, in certain 
dreams, there are, as Freud first showed, two proc- 
esses; one is the conscious dream, the other is a 
subconscious process which is the actuated resi- 
duum of a previous experience and determines the 
dream.* It would be going beyond the scope of our 

number of associative ideas that crowd into consciousness, choose 
our symbols, and remember the rejected ideas. This is not the case 
with dream imagination. The imagery develops as if done by some- 
thing else. 

* It must not be assumed that all dreams are determined by a 
subconscious process or that all are symbolic. On the contrary, from 
evidence in hand, there is reason to believe that some dreams have 
substantially the same mechanism as waking imagination subject to 
the limitations imposed by the existing dissociation of consciousness 
during sleep. Just as, in the waking state, thoughts may or may nq 
be determined by subconscious processes, so in the sleeping state. 
We know too little about the mechanisms of thought to draw wide 
generalizations or to dogmatize. 


subject to enter into a full exposition of this inter- 
pretation at this time and I must refer you for a 
discussion of the dream problem to works devoted 
to the subject. 

We have not, of course, touched the further prob- 
lem of the How: how a subconscious intelligence in- 
duces a conscious dream which is not an emergence 
*of the elements of that intelligence into self-con- 
sciousness, but a symbolization of them. This is a 
problem which still awaits solution. From certain 
data at hand it seems likely that so far as concerns 
the hallucinatory perceptual elements of a dream 
they can be accounted for as the emergence of the 
secondary images pertaining to the subconscious 
" ideas." 

The following observation is an example of sub- 
conscious versification and also of constructive 
imagination. It also, I think, gives an insight into 
the character and content of the underlying process 
which constructs a dream. - I give the observation 
in the subject's own words: 

"I woke suddenly some time between three and four in the 
morning. I was perfectly wide awake and conscious of my sur- 
roundings but for a short time perhaps two or three minutes I 
could not move, and I saw this vision which I recognized as such. 

"The end of my room seemed to have disappeared, and I 
looked out into boundless space. It looked misty but bright, as 
if the sun was shining behind a light fog. There were shifting 
wisps of fog blowing lightly about, and these wisps seemed to 
gather into the forms of a man and a woman. The figures were 
perfectly clear and lifelike I recognized them both. The man 
was dressed in dark every-day clothes, the woman in rather flow- 


ing black; her face was partly hidden on his breast; one arm 
was laid around his neck; both his arms were around her, and 
he was looking down at her, smiling very tenderly. They seemed 
to be surrounded by a sort of rosy atmosphere; a large, very 
bright star was above their heads not in the heavens, but just 
over them; tall rose bushes heavy with red roses in full bloom 
grew up about them, and the falling petals were heaped up around 
their feet. Then the man bent his head and kissed her. 

"The vision was extraordinarily clear and I thought I would 
write it down at once. I turned on the light by my bedside, took 
pencil and paper lying there and wrote, as I supposed, prac- 
tically what I have written here. I then got up, was up some 
minutes, went back to bed, and after a while to sleep. The clock 
struck four soon after getting back into bed. I do not think I 
experienced any emotion at the moment of seeing the vision, but 
after writing it down I did. 

"The next morning I picked up the paper to read over what I 
had written and was amazed at the language and the rhythm. 
This is what I had written : 

" 'Last night I waked from sleep quite suddenly, 

And though my brain was clear my limbs were tranced. 
Beyond the walls of my familiar room 

I gazed outward into luminous space. 
Before my staring eyes two forms took shape, 

Vague, shadowy, slowly gathering from the mists, 
Until I saw before me, you my Love ! 

And folded to your breast in close embrace 
Was she, that other, whom I may not name. 

A rosy light bathed you in waves of love ; 
Above your heads there shone a glowing star; 

Red roses shed their leaves about your feet. 
And as I gazed with eyes that could not weep 

You bent your head and laid your lips on hers. 
And my rent soul ' . . . [Apparently unfinished.] 


"The thoughts were the same as my conscious thoughts had 
been the vision was well described but the language was en- 
tirely different from anything I had thought, and the writing ex- 
pressed the emotion which I had not consciously experienced in 
seeing the vision, but which (I have since learned) I had felt dur- 
ing the dream, and which I did consciously feel after writing. 
When I wrote I meant simply to state the facts of the vision."* 

The subject was unable to give any explanation 
of the vision or of the composition of the verse. 
She rarely remembers her dreams and had no mem- 
ory of any dream the night of this vision. By hyp- 
notic procedure, however, I was able to recover 
memories of a dream which occurred just before 
she woke up. It appeared that in the dream she was 
wandering in a great open space and saw this " pic- 
ture in a thin mist. The mist seemed to blow apart" 
and disclosed the " picture" which was identical 
with the vision. At the climax of the dream picture 
the dreamer experienced an intense emotion well 
described in the verse by the unfinished phrase, 
"My rent soul ..." The dreamer "shrieked, and 
fell on the ground on her face, and grew cold from 
head to foot and waked up." 

The vision after waking, then, was a repetition of 
a preceding dream vision and we may safely assume 
that it was fabricated by the same underlying proc- 

* ' ' For two or three days previously I had been trying to write 
some verses, and had been reading a good deal of poetry. I had 
been thinking in rhythm. I had also been under considerable nerv- 
ous and emotional strain for some little time in reference to the facta 
portrayed in the verse. ' ' 


ess which fabricated the dream, this process re- 
peating itself after waking. 

So far the phenomenon was one which is fairly 
common. Now when we come to examine the auto- 
matically written script we find it has a number of 
significant characteristics. (1) It describes a con- 
scious episode, (2) As a literary effort for one who 
is not a poetical writer it is fairly well written and 
probably quite as good verse as the subject can con- 
sciously write; (3) It expresses the mental attitude, 
sentiments and emotions experienced in the dream 
but not at the time of the vision. These had also 
been antecedent experiences; (4) Both the central 
ideas of the verse and the vision symbolically repre- 
sented certain antecedent presentiments of the fu- 
ture; (5) The script gives of the vision an interpre- 
tation which was not consciously in mind at the mo- 
ment of writing. 

Now, inasmuch as these sentiments and interpre- 
tations were not in the conscious mind at the mo- 
ment of writing, the script suggests that the proc- 
ess that wrote it was not simply a subconscious 
memory of the vision but the same process which 
fabricated the dream. Indeed, the phenomenon is 
open to the suspicion that this same process ex- 
presses the same ideas in verbal symbolism as a sub- 
stitution for the hallucinatory symbolism. To de- 
termine this point, an effort was made to recover by 
technical methods memories of this process ; that is 
to determine what wrote the verse and by what sort 
of a process. The following was brought out: 


1. The script was written automatically,. The 
subject thought she was writing certain words and 
expressing certain thoughts and did not perceive 
that she was writing different words. " Something 
seemed to prevent her seeing the words she wrote." 
There were two trains of "thought." 

2. The ' ' thoughts ' ' of the verse were in her ' ' sub- 
conscious mind."* These "thoughts" (also de- 
scribed as "words") were not logically arranged or 
as written in the verse, but "sort of tumbled to- 
gether mixed up a little." "They were not like 
the thoughts one thinks in composing a verse." 
There did not seem to be any attempt at selection 
from the thoughts or words. No evidence could be 
elicited to show that the composing was done here. 

3. Concurrently with these subconscious, mixed- 
up thoughts coconscious "images" of the words of 
the verse came just at the moment of writing iaem 
down. The images were bright, printed words. 
Sometimes one or two words would come at a t ime 
and sometimes a whole line. 

In other words all happened as if there wa^ a 
deeper underlying process which did the composing 
and from this process certain thoughts without logi- 
cal order emerged to form a subconscious stream 
and after the composing was done the words of the 
verse emerged as coconscious images as they were 

* By this is meant ' ' thoughts ' ' of which she was not aware. 
Numerous observations on this subject have disclosed such subcon- 
scious ideas in connection with other phenomena. This corresponds 
with the testimony of other subjects previously cited. (Lecture VI.) 


to be written. This underlying process, then, " au- 
tomatically" did the writing and the composing. 
Hence it seemed to the subject even when remem- 
bering in hypnosis the subconscious thoughts and 
images that both were done unconsciously. 

As to whether this underlying process was the 
same as that which fabricated the dream and the 
hallucination, the evidence, albeit circumstantial, 
would seem to render this almost certain. In the 
first place the verse was only a poetical arrange- 
ment of the subconscious thoughts disclosed; the 
vision w r as an obvious symbolic expression or visual 
representation of the same thoughts (that is, of 
course, of those concerned with the subject matter 
of the vision). The only difference would seem to 
be in the form of the expression verbal and visual 
imagery respectively.* In the second place the 
vision was an exact repetition of the dream vision. 
It is not at all rare to find certain phenomena of 
dreams (visual, motor, sensory, etc.) repeating 
themselves after waking, f This can only be ex- 
plained by the subconscious repetition of the dream 
process. Consequently we are compelled to infer the 
same subconscious process underlying the dream- 
vision. More than this, it was possible to trace 

* As a theory of the mechanism of the vision I would suggest 
that it was the emergence of the secondary visual images belonging 
to the subconscious ideas. 

f See page 102. Also Prince : The Mechanism and Interpreta- 
tion of Dreams. Jour. Abnormal Psychology. Oct.-Nov., 1910. G. 
A. Waterman: Dreams as a Cause of Symptoms. Ibid. Oct.-Nov., 


these thoughts back to antecedent experiences of 
the dreamer, so that in the last analysis the dream- 
vision, waking- vision, and poetical expression of the 
vision could be related with almost certainty to the 
same antecedent experiences as the causal factors. 

Certain conclusions then seem compulsory: un- 
derlying the dream, vision, and script was a sub- 
conscious process in which the fundamental factors 
were the same. As this process showed itself ca- 
pable of poetical composition, constructive imagina- 
tion, volition, memory, and affectivity it was a sub- 
conscious intelligence. 

As to its intrinsic nature coconscious or uncon- 
conscious according to the evidence at least the 
process that wrote the script contained conscious 
elements the coconscious thoughts and images. 

We may assume the same for the dream and the 
vision. As to the mechanism of the vision it is quite 
conceivable, not to say probable, that, correspond- 
ing to the coconscious images of the printed words 
during the writing, there were similar images of the 
vision scene (both in the dream and the waking 
state), but these instead of remaining coconscious 
emerged into consciousness to be the vision.* 
Whether the still deeper underlying process was 
conscious or unconscious could not be determined 
by any evidence accessible and must be a matter of 

* I base this theory on other observations where coconscioua 
images or "visions" of scenes occurred. When these images 
emerge into consciousness the subject experienced a vision. 


The chief importance that attaches to this obser- 
vation, it seems to me, is the insight it gives into the 
character of the underlying process of a dream. If 
the conclusions I have drawn are sound, then the 
subconscious process which determines the con- 
scious dream may be what is actually an intelligence 
and it matters not whether a coconscious or uncon- 
scious one. This seems to me to be a conclusion 
fraught with the highest significance for the theory 
of dreams and hallucinatory phenomena in general. 
Of course we all know well enough that dissociated 
subconscious processes may be intelligent and influ- 
ence the content of the personal consciousness, as 
witness coconscious personalities. If the underly- 
ing process of a dream may be something akin to 
such a personality, something capable of reasoning, 
imagination and volition, it renders intelligible the 
fundamental principle of the Freudian theory of a 
double process the "latent" and "manifest" 
dream. One of the difficulties in the general ac- 
ceptance of this theory has been, I think, the diffi- 
culty of conceiving a subconscious process the "la- 
tent dream" capable of the intelligent fabrication 
of a "manifest" dream phantasy which is a cryptic 
symbolization of the subject's thoughts. Such a 
fabrication has all the earmarks of purpose, fore- 
thought and constructive imagination. But if this 
underlying process can be identified, even though it 
be in a single case, with such an intelligence as that 
which wrote the poetical script we have studied, it 


is plainly quite capable of fabricating the wildest 
dream phantasy. 

I have suggested that the subconscious intelli- 
gence may be comparable to the phenomenon of a 
coconscious personality. It is worth noting in this 
connection that in the case of Miss B. the cocon- 
scious personality, Sally, who claimed to be awake 
while Miss B. was dreaming, also claimed that Miss 
B. sometimes dreamed about what Sally was think- 
ing of at the moment.* In other words, the thoughts 
of a large systematized coconscious intelligence de- 
termined the dream just as these thoughts some- 
times emerged into Miss B.'s mind when awake. 
That a coconscious personality may persist awake 
while the principal personality is asleep I have been 
able to demonstrate in another case (B. C. A.). It 
was also noted in Dr. Barrows' case of Anna Win- 
sor. Moreover, Sally was shown to be a persistent, 
sane coconsciousness while Miss B. was delirious 
and also while she was apparently deeply etherized 
and unconscious.! After all it is difficult to distin- 
guish in principle the condition of sleep with a per- 
sisting coconsciousness from a state of deep hyp- 
notic trance where the subject is apparently uncon- 
scious. In this condition, although the waking con- 
sciousness has disappeared, there can be shown to 
be a persisting "secondary" consciousness which 
can be communicated with by automatic writing and 
which later can exhibit memories of occurrences in 

The Dissociation, p. 332. 

f The Dissociation of a Personality, p. 330. 


the environment during the hypnotic trance. 
(B. C. A.) 

What has been said does not touch, of course, the 
other mechanisms of the Freudian theory nor the 
unessential, greatly over-emphasized theory that the 
subconscious dream is always a sexual wish. On 
the contrary, the principle throws a strong, a priori 
doubt upon the correctness of this generalization. 
It is plainly, however, a matter of fact which might 
be easily determined by observation were it not for 
the difficulty of correctly referring clinical phenom- 
ena to the correct antecedent experiences as their 
causal factors. In the last analysis it becomes al- 
ways a matter of interpretation. 

Applied psychology. Much has been discovered in 
recent years regarding the part played by subcon- 
scious processes in the production of normal and ab- 
normal phenomena. But we do not as yet know the 
possibilities and limitations of these processes. We 
have as yet but an imperfect knowledge of what 
they can do, what they can't do, and what they do 
do, and of the mechanisms by which they are called 
into play and provoke phenomena. Many patho- 
logical phenomena have been shown to be due to 
subconscious processes ; and it is quite probable that 
these play an important part in determining the 
mental processes of normal life, but this is still 
largely theory. In applied psychology and psycho- 
pathology the ' ' subconscious ' ' has been made use of 
to explain many phenomena with which we have 


practically to deal. Assumed as a concept the phe- 
nomena are explained by it with a greater or less de- 
gree of probability. In those 'hysterical conditions 
where the subconscious processes have been shown 
to be split-off conscious processes, we can often re- 
cover memories of the latter and demonstrate their 
relation to the hysterical phenomena by the various 
technical methods already mentioned. But where 
this cannot be done, as is ordinarily the case, some 
conserved antecedent experience must be inferred 
as the causal factor and assumed to be the function- 
ing subconscious process which determines the phe- 
nomenon. To a large extent, then, in applied psy- 
chology and psychopathology the postulation in spe- 
cific cases of a subconscious process is theoretical 
and open to more or less doubt. In other words, al- 
though a principle may be established, its applica- 
tion, as in all applied sciences, is apt to meet with 

Now the application of the principle of a subcon- 
scious process to the explanation of a given phe- 
nomenon is rendered peculiarly difficult because for 
practical purposes it is not so much the question of 
a subacting process that is at issue as it is of what 
particular antecedent experience is concerned in the 
process. The question is of the causal factor. For 
example, we may know from general experience in a 
large number of instances that a given hysterical 
phenomenon a tic or a convulsive attack or an hal- 
lucination or a dream must be in all probability 
determined by a subconscious process derived from 


some conserved experience, but what specific expe- 
rience may be a matter of considerable uncertainty. 
Hence the different theories and schools of interpre- 
tation that have arisen. The importance of clearly 
appreciating the nature of such problems and prop- 
erly estimating the different theories at their true 
value is so great that I may be permitted a few 
words in further explanation. 

Let us take dreams as a type. The conscious 
dream may be made up of fantastic imagery and ap- 
parently absurd thoughts without apparent logical 
meaning. Now from general experience we may 
believe that the dream is a cryptic symbolic expres- 
sion of a logical subconscious process perhaps a 
wish. The question is, what wish? The symbolism 
cannot be deciphered on its face. Now, by the an- 
alytic method associative memories pertaining to 
each element of the dream are recovered in abstrac- 
tion. When a memory of antecedent thoughts of 
which the dream element is a logical symbolism or 
synonym and which give an intelligent meaning to 
the dream is recovered, we infer that these antece- 
dent thoughts are contained in the determining sub- 
conscious process. Further, as it is found that cer- 
tain objects or actions (e. g., snakes, flying, etc.) fre- 
quently occur in the dreams of different people as 
symbolisms of the same thoughts, it is inferred that 
whenever these objects or actions appear in the 
dream they are always symbolisms of the same un- 
derlying thoughts. 

Obviously the mere fact of an antecedent experi- 


ence arising as an associative memory is not of it- 
self evidence of its being the causal factor. Hun- 
dreds of such memories might be obtained. To 
have evidential value the memory must give logical 
meaning to the dream or dream element under in- 
vestigation. Now, as a matter of fact, more than 
one memory can often be obtained which answers 
these conditions. Consequently it becomes a mat- 
ter of selection from memories, or interpretation, 
as to which is the correct solution of a given dream 
problem and mutatis mutandis of a pathological 
phenomenon. Naturally the selection is largely de- 
termined by personal views and a priori concepts. 
It also follows that if one accepts the universality 
of a given symbolism and is committed to a given 
theory one can, by going far enough, find associa- 
tions in vast numbers of dreams that will support 
that theory. The correct solution of a dream prob- 
lem, that is, the correct determination of the speci- 
fic underlying process, depends upon the correct de- 
termination of the causal factor and this must be 
inferred. The inferential nature of the latter fac- 
tor therefore introduces a possible source of error. 
There must frequently be considerable latitude in 
the interpretation. This is not to gainsay that in a 
large number of instances the logical relation be- 
tween antecedent experiences (recovered by associ- 
ative memories) and the dream is so close and ob- 
trusive that doubt as to the true subconscious proc- 
ess can scarcely be entertained. 
An example of a condensed analysis of a dream 


will illustrate the practical difficulty often presented 
in determining by clinical methods the correct 
causal factor and subconscious process of a dream. 
I select a simple one which consists of two scenes : * 

"C. was somewhere and saw an old woman who appeared to be 
a Jewess. She was holding a bottle and a glass, and seemed to be 
drinking whisky. Then this woman changed into her own mother, 
who had the bottle and glass, and appeared likewise to be drink- 
ing whisky. 

"Then the door opened and her father appeared. He had on 
her husband's dressing gown, and he was holding two sticks of 
wood in his hand." 

Before interpreting this dream I will state that 
the subject had been tormented (as was brought out 
by the associative memories) by the question 
whether poor people should be condemned if they 
yielded to temptation, particularly that of drinking. 
This problem she could not answer satisfactorily to 
herself. It is the inferred causal factor in the 
dream process. The dream gave an answer to this 

Let me also point out that the material, that is, 
the elements out of which this dream was con- 
structed (indicated by the words italicized), was 
found in the thoughts of the dreamer on the pre- 
ceding day and particularly just before going to 
sleep. The first scene of the dream ends with the 
mother drinking whisky: the second scene repre- 
sents the father appearing with two sticks of wood. 

* Mechanism and Interpretation of Dreams, Journal Abnormal 
Psychology, Oct.-Nov., 1910. 


For the sake of simplicity of illustration I will con- 
fine myself to the interpretation of this first scene 
as it will answer our present purposes. 

"As to the first scene" (by technical methods of analysis) "a 
rich collection of memories was obtained. It appeared that on the 
previous morning the subject had walked with a poor Jewess 
through the slums, and had passed by some men who had been 
drinking. This led her to think at the time of the lives of these 
poor people; of the temptations to which they were exposed; of 
how little we know of this side of life and of its temptations. 
She wondered what the effect of such surroundings, particularly 
of seeing people drinking, would have upon the child of the 
Jewess. She wondered if such people ought to be condemned if 
they yielded to drink and other temptations. She thought that 
she herself would not blame such people if they yielded, and that 
we ought not to condemn them. Then in the psychoanalysis there 
came memories of her mother, whose character she admired and 
who never condemned any one. She remembered how her mother, 
who was an invalid, always had a glass of whisky and water on 
her table at night, and how the family used to joke her about it. 
Then came memories again of her husband sending bottles of 
whisky to her mother; of the latter drinking it at night; of the 
men whom she had seen in the slums and who had been drinking. 
These, very briefly, were the experiences accompanied by strong 
feeling tones which were called up as associative memories of this 
scene of the dream. With these in mind, it is not difficult to con- 
struct a logical, though symbolic, meaning of it. In the dream 
a Jewess (not the Jewess, but a type) is in the act of drinking 
whisky in other words, the poor, whom the Jewess represents, 
yield to the temptation which the dreamer had thought of with 
considerable intensity of feeling during the day. The dreamer's 
own judgment, after considerable cogitation, had been that such 
people were not to be condemned. Was she right? The dream 
answers the question, for the Jewess changes in the dream to her 
mother, for whose judgment she had the utmost respect. Her 


mother now drinks the whisky as she had actually done in life, a 
logical justification (in view of her mother's fine character and 
liberal opinion) of her own belief, which was somewhat intensely 
expressed in her thoughts of that morning, a belief in not con- 
demning poor people who yield to such temptations. The dream 
scene is therefore the symbolical representation and justification of 
her own belief,* and answers the doubts and scruples that beset 
her mind." 

Whether or not this is the correct interpretation 
of this dream depends entirely upon whether the 
true causal factors were found. If through the an- 
alysis this was the case, as I believe namely, the 
scruple or ethical problem whether poor people who 
yield to temptation ought to be condemned then 
the interpretation given is logically sound and the 
dream is an answer to the doubts and scruples that 
beset the dreamer's mind. But the answer is a pic- 
torial symbolism and therefore requires an inter- 
vening subconscious process which induces and fi- 
nally expresses itself in the symbolism. We may 
suppose that this process in response to and as a 
subconscious incubation of the ethical problem took 
some form like this: ''Poor people like the Jewess 
are not to be condemned for yielding to the tempta- 
tion (of drinking) for my mother, who was beyond 
criticism, showed by her life she would not have con- 
demned them." 

This may or may not be the true subconscious 

* The symbolic expression of beliefs and symbolic answers to 
doubts and scruples is quite common in another type of symbolism, 
viz., visions. Religious and political history is replete with exam- 


process and the correct interpretation of the dream. 
But it is one possible and logical interpretation 
based upon the actually found antecedent experi- 
ences and associative memories of the dreamer. 
Now it so happens that this interpretation and that 
of other dreams * which I endeavored to trace to 
antecedent experiences have been warmly chal- 
lenged by certain clinicians because the inferred 
causal factors were not found to be antecedent re- 
pressed sexual wishes. It is insisted on theoretical 
grounds that the content of the dreams plainly indi- 
cated that there must have been such wishes and that 
if these had been found this dream would have been 
unfolded as a logical symbolical fulfilment of a sex- 
ual wish. Which interpretation is correct is incon- 
sequential for our present purpose. The contro- 
versy only relates to the universality of the sexual 
theory of dreams. The point is that this difference 
in interpretation shows the possibility of error in 
the determination of the causal factor and the sub- 
conscious process by clinical methods. The dream 
may be logically related to two or more antecedent 
experiences and we have no criterion of which is the 
correct one. To insist upon one or the other savors 
of pure dogmatism.f Indeed, the justification for 
the postulation in a dream of any subconscious proc- 

* Loc. tit. 

f It has been answered that experience in a large number of cases 
shows that dreams always can be related logically to sexual experi- 
ences. To this it may be answered they can also in an equal number 
of cases, indeed in many oi these same cases, be related to non-sexual 


ess in the last analysis depends upon the sound- 
ness of the postulation of the antecedent experience 
as the causal factor. If this factor falls to the 
ground the subconscious process falls with it. 

The second point to which this discussion leads 
us is that the latitude of interpretation allowed by 
the method of analysis has given rise to different 
views as to the specific character of the subconscious 
process found in many dreams. According to the 
theory of Freud, to whose genius we are indebted 
for the discovery of this process, it is almost 
always a sexual wish and the dream is always 
the imaginary, even though cryptic, fulfilment of 
that wish. On the other hand, as a result 
of my own studies, if I may venture to lay weight 
upon them, I have been forced to the conclusion that 
a dream may be the symbolical expression of almost 
any thought to which strong emotional tones with 
their impulsive forces have been linked, particularly 
anxieties, apprehensions, sorrows, beliefs, wishes, 
doubts, and scruples, which function subconsciously 
in the dream. It may be a solution of unsolved 
problems with which the mind has been occupied,* 
just as in the waking state a mathematical or other 
problem may be solved subconsciously. In some 
subjects the problem is particularly apt to be 
one involving a conflict between opposing im- 

* Loc. cit. It is possible, however, that sometimes the problem 
has been solved subconsciously in the waking state, the answer then 
appearing in the dream. 


pulses, therefore one which has troubled the 

We have seen that in experimental and spontane- 
ous hallucinatory phenomena, where the causal fac- 
tor is known, a subconscious process is the essential 
feature of the mechanism. In this respect the mech- 
anism is identical with that of certain dreams. In- 
deed, dreams are one type of hallucinatory phenom- 
ena. In fact we met with one dream the chief ele- 
ment of which was repeated afterward in the wak- 
ing state as a vision. We are justified, then, in ap- 
plying the principle of a subconscious process to the 
elucidation of the visions of normal people, although 
it may be difficult to determine exactly the specific 
content of the process and the antecedent thought 
from which it was derived. Sometimes the content 
of a vision and the known circumstances under 
which it occurred are sufficient to enable us to in- 
terpret the phenomenon with reasonable certainty. 
In the following historical examples it is not diffi- 
cult to recognize that the vision was a symbolic an- 
swer to a problem which had troubled the conscience 
of the Archduke Charles of Austria. Unable to 
solve his problem consciously and come to a deci- 
sion, it was solved for him by a subconscious proc- 
ess. Indeed, as a fact, the vision was accepted by 
Charles as an answer to his doubts and perhaps 
changed the future history of Austria. 

* Here we find an analogy with certain allied phenomena the 
visions and voices experienced as phenomena of sudden religious 


"The Archduke Charles (the father of the present Emperor of 
Austria) was also greatly troubled in his mind as to the right to 
waive his claim to the crown in favor of his son. According to 
his own statement he only finally made up his mind when, while 
earnestly praying for guidance in his perplexity, he had a vision 
of the spirit of his father, the late Emperor Francis, laying his 
hand on the head of his youthful grandson and thus putting all his 
own doubts to rest." * 

The likeness in type of the dream which we have 
just discussed to this vision is instructive. In the 
former the mother of the dreamer answers the ques- 
tion of conscience by drinking the whisky; in the 
latter the father of the visualizer does the same by 
laying his hand on the head of the object of the 

I have already pointed out the evidence for a sub- 
conscious process underlying the hallucinatory phe- 
nomena of sudden religious conversion.! I may 
further cite here, as an analogous phenomenon, the 
following historical example of not only hallucina- 
tory symbolism, but of explicitly conscious proc- 
esses of thought which were elaborated by subcon- 
scious processes. It is Margaret Mary's vision of 
the Sacred Heart. Margaret earnestly desired (ac- 
cording to her biographer) 

"To be loved by God! and loved by him to distraction (aime* 
jusqu'a la folie) ! Margaret melted away with love at the 

* Francis Joseph and His Times Sir Horace Bumbold. Page 
151. (Italics mine.) 

f See also, ' ' The Psychology of Sudden Religious Conversion, ' ' 
Journal Abnormal Psychology, April* 1906, and "The Dissociation," 
2nd Edit., pages 344 and 564; also James' "The Varieties of Re- 
ligious Experience. ' ' 


thought of such a thing. Like St. Philip of Neri in former times, 
or like St. Francis Xavier, she said to God: 'Hold back, O my 
God, these torrents which overwhelm me, or else enlarge my ca- 
pacity for their reception.' " 

The answer and the form of the fulfilment of this 
wish came as an hallucination. She had a vision of 
Christ's Sacred Heart 

" 'surrounded with rays more brilliant than the sun, and trans- 
parent like a crystal. The wound which he received on the cross 
visibly appeared upon it. There was a crown of thorns round- 
about this divine Heart, and a cross above it/ At the same 
time Christ's voice told her that, unable longer to contain the 
flames of his love for mankind, he had chosen her by a miracle to 
spread the knowledge of them. He thereupon took out her mortal 
heart, placed it inside of his own and inflamed it, and then re- 
placed it in her breast, adding: 'Hitherto thou hast taken the 
name of my slave, hereafter thou shalt be called the well-beloved 
disciple of my Sacred Heart.' " * 

There is scarcely room to doubt, on the strength 
of the evidence as presented, that the antecedent 
longings of Margaret impelled by the conative force 
of their emotions were the causal factor of this 
vision. These longings, organized in the uncon- 
scious, must have gone through subconscious incu- 
bation (as William James has pointed out) and 
then emerged after maturity into consciousness 
as a symbolic visualization accompanied by hal- 
lucinatory words which were the expression of 
explicit subconscious imagination. Indeed, all such 

* Quoted by William James, page 343. 


hallucinatory symbolisms like the mental phenom- 
ena in general of sudden religious conversion can 
only be psychologically explained as the emergence 
into consciousness of subconscious processes. The 
problem in each case is the determination of the 
content of the process.* 

Re-flection, consideration, meditation. We are en- 
tering upon more uncertain ground in attempting to 
apply the mechanism of subconscious processes to 
every-day thought. There are certain types of 
thought, however, which behave as if this mechanism 
were at work. When, for instance, we take a prob- 
lem "under advisement," reflect upon it, give it 
' ' thoughtful consideration, ' ' it seems as if, in weigh- 
ing the facts pro and con, in looking at it from dif- 
ferent points of view, i. e., in switching it into dif- 
ferent settings, in considering all the facts related 
to it, we voluntarily recall each fact that comes into 
consciousness. Yet it is quite possible, and indeed 
I think more than probable, reasoning from analogy, 
that the processes which present each fact, switch 
each point of view, or setting into consciousness, 
are subconscious and that what we do is chiefly to 
select from those which are thus brought into con- 
sciousness the ideas, settings, etc., which fulfil best 
the requirements of the question. In profound re- 
flection or attention to thought (a form of absent- 

* Some will undoubtedly read into Margaret's vision a cryptic 
sexual symbolism. To do so seems to me too narrow a view, in that 
it fails to give full weight to other instincts (and emotions) and to 
appreciate all the forces of human personality. 


mindedness) it seems as if it were more a matter of 
attention to and selection from the "free associa- 
tions" which involuntarily come into the mind than 
of determining voluntarily what shall come in. If 
this be so, it is evident that the subconscious plays a 
much more extensive part in the mechanism of 
thought than is ordinarily supposed. We have not, 
however, sufficient data to allow us to do much more 
than theorize in the matter. Yet there are certain 
data which suggest the probability of the correct- 
ness of this hypothesis. In this connection I would 
point out how entirely confirmatory of this view is 
the testimony of the hypnotic consciousness which 
was cited in the previous lecture and which I will 
ask you to recall. You will remember that this tes- 
timony was to the effect that when a problem was 
under consideration associative memories required 
for its solution kept emerging out of the unconscious 
into the secondary consciousness.* 

Consider certain facts of every-day experience. 
A novel and difficult question is put up to us for de- 
cision. We have, we will say, to decide whether a 
certain piece of property situated in a growing dis- 
trict of a city shall be sold or held for future devel- 
opment: or a political manager has to decide 
whether or not to pursue a certain policy to win an 
election; or the President of the United States has 
to decide the policy of the government in certain 
land questions in. Alaska. Now each of us would 
probably say that we could not decide such a ques- 

* Lecture VI, pp. 169-172. 


tion offhand ; we would want time for consideration. 
If we attempted voluntarily, at the moment the ques- 
tion is put, to recall to mind all the different facts 
involved, to consider the given question from all as- 
pects, to switch the main facts into their different 
settings, we would find it an impossible thing to do. 
We consequently take the matter "under advise- 
ment," to use the conventional expression. We 
want time. Now what we apparently, and I think 
undoubtedly, do is to put the problem into our minds 
and leave it, so to speak, to incubate. Then, from 
time to time, as we take up the matter for considera- 
tion, the various facts involved in the different as- 
pects of the question, and belonging to their differ- 
ent settings, arise to mind. Then we weigh, com- 
pare, and estimate the value of these different facts 
and arrive at a judgment. All happens as if sub- 
conscious processes had been at work, as if the prob- 
lem had been going through a subconscious incuba- 
tion, switching in this and switching in that set of 
facts, and presenting them to consciousness, the final 
selection of the deciding point of view being left to 
the latter. The subconscious garners from the store" 
house of past experiences, those which have a bear- 
ing on the question and are required for its solution, 
brings them into consciousness, and then our logical 
conscious processes form the judgment. The degree 
to which subconscious processes in this way take 
part in forming judgments would vary according to 
the mental habits of the individual, the complexity 
of the problem, the affectivity and conflicting char- 


acter of the elements involved. Under this theory 
we see that there is a deeper psychological basis for 
the every-day practice of taking "under advise- 
ment" or "into consideration" a matter, before 
giving judgment, than would appear on the surface. 
There is considerable experimental evidence in fa- 
vor of this theory. In discussing above the subcon- 
scious solution of problems I cited certain evidence, 
obtained from the memories of subjects in hypnosis, 
for coconscious and unconscious processes taking 
part in such solutions. I have been able to accumu- 
late evidence of this kind showing the cooperation 
of processes outside of consciousness in determining 
the point of view and final judgment of the subject 
when a matter has been under advisement; particu- 
larly when the subject has been disturbed by doubts 
and scruples. It is plain that in the final analysis 
any question on which we reserve our judgment is a 
problem which we put into our minds. And, after 
all, it is only a question of degree and affectivity be- 
tween the state of mind which hesitates to decide an 
impersonal question, like a judicial decision, and one 
that involves a scruple of conscience. This latter 
state often eventuates in hallucinatory and other 
phenomena involving subconscious processes. Scru- 
ples of conscience, it is true, usually have strong af- 
fective elements as constituents, but the former may 
also have them, particularly when involving per- 
sonal ambitions, political principles, etc. 

Our studies up to this point have led us to the 
general conclusion that a large measure of the ex- 
periences of life are conserved or deposited in what 
may be called a storehouse of neurographic dispo- 
sitions or residua. This storehouse is the uncon- 
scious. From this storehouse our conscious proc- 
esses draw for the material of thought. Further, 
a large amount and variety of evidence, which we 
have briefly and incompletely reviewed, has shown 
that conserved experiences may function without 
arising into consciousness, i. e., as a subconscious 
process. To what extent such processes take part 
in the mechanism of thought, contribute to the for- 
mation of judgments, determine the point of view 
and meaning of ideas, give direction to the stream 
and formulate the content of consciousness, and in 
particular conditions, by a species of translation, 
manifest themselves consciously as phenomena 
which we designate abnormal constitute special 
problems w r hich require to be studied by themselves. 

Physiological memory and processes. There is one 
phase of the unconscious which for the sake of com- 



pleteness ought to be touched upon here, particu- 
larly as it is of considerable importance in any bio- 
logical conception of intelligence. There is every 
reason to believe that intrinsically there is no essen- 
tial difference between those physiological disposi- 
tions and activities of the lower nervous centers 
(subcortical ganglia and spinal cord), which condi- 
tion and determine unconscious behavior, and those 
dispositions and activities of the higher centers the 
cortex which condition and determine both con- 
scious and unconscious behavior. The former are 
undoubtedly innate in that they are primarily condi- 
tioned by inherited anatomical and physiological 
prearrangements of neurons and the latter are pre- 
eminently acquired through experience although 
probably not wholly so. (Our knowledge of the 
localization of function in the nervous system is not 
sufficiently definite to enable us to delimit the locali- 
zation of either innate or acquired dispositions.) 
The innate activities of the lower nervous centers so 
far as represented by movements can be clearly dif- 
ferentiated from those of the higher centers and 
recognized in the behavior of so-called "spinal" an- 
imals and of animals from which the cerebral hemi- 
spheres have been removed. In the former the con- 
nection between the spinal cord and all parts of the 
nervous system above having been severed, what- 
ever movements are executed are performed by the 
spinal cord alone and therefore of course by uncon- 
scious processes. The latter animals, although their 
actions are more complex and closely approximate 


(with important differences) those of normal ani- 
mals, are also devoid or nearly devoid of conscious- 
ness. I say "nearly devoid" because in the inter- 
pretation of the experiments it is difficult to dis- 
prove that, as some hold, elementary sensations 
qua sensation are retained, though others regard 
the animals as purely unconscious physiological ma- 

In the spinal animal, in response to specific stim- 
uli, various movements are elicited which though of 
a purposive character are effected, as has been so 
admirably worked out by Sherington, by complex 
spinal mechanisms of a reflex character. The so- 
called ' ' scratch reflex ' ' and the reflex movements of 
walking, trotting, and galloping (the animal being 
suspended in air) are examples. Such reflexes in- 
volve not only the excitation of certain movements 
appropriate to the stimulus but the inhibition of an- 
tagonistic muscles and reflex movements. Further 
in the integration of the spinal system, reflexes are 
compounded, one bringing to the support of an- 
other allied accessory reflexes so that various co- 
operative movements are executed. A constellation 
of reflexes leads to quite complex spinal mechanisms 
responsive to groups of stimuli acting concurrently 
and resulting in behavior which is purposive and 
adaptive to the situation. The neural processes ex- 
ecuting such movements are necessarily conditioned 
by inherited dispositions and structural arrange- 
ments of the neurons. 

In the animal from which the cerebral hemi- 


spheres only have been removed there can be little 
doubt that the physiological mechanisms governing 
behavior differ only in complexity, not in kind, from 
those of the spinal reflexes ; that in passing through 
successive anatomical levels from the spinal animal 
to this decerebrate animal with the addition of each 
successive ganglion the increasing complexity of be- 
havior corresponds to increasing complexity of 
mechanisms or compounding of reflexes. And yet in 
the decerebrate animal without consciousness, as we 
must believe (excepting perhaps elementary sensa- 
tions), the subcortical ganglia and spinal cord con- 
tinue to perform exceedingly complex actions ordi- 
narily, as we suppose, guided in the normal animal 
by consciousness. The reptile crawls; the fish 
swims; indeed the lancet fish has no brain, all its 
functions being regulated by its spinal cord. The 
frog hops and swims; the hen preens its feathers, 
walks and flies; the dog walks and runs. These, 
however, are the simplest examples of decerebrate 
behavior. Indeed it may be quite complex. The 
more recent experiments of Schrader on the pigeon 
and falcon and Goltz and Kothmann on the dog, 
not to mention those of earlier physiologists, have 
shown that the decerebrate unconscious (?) animal 
performs about all the movements performed by 
the normal animal.* "A mammal such as a rab- 
bit, in the same way as a frog and a bird, may 

* For a general account of the behavior of decerebrate animals 
and summary of these experiments see Loeb 'a ' ' Physiology of the 
Brain, ' ' and Schaf er 's Text Book of Physiology. 


in the complete or all but complete absence of the 
cerebral hemispheres maintain a natural posture, 
free from all signs of disturbance of equilibrium, 
and is able to carry out with success at all events 
all the usual and common bodily movements. And 
as in the bird and frog, the evidence also shows that 
these movements not only may be started by, but in 
their carrying out are guided by and coordinated by, 
afferent impulses along afferent nerves, including 
those of the special senses. But in the case of the 
rabbit it is even still clearer than in the case of the 
bird that the effects of these afferent impulses are 
different from those which result when the impulses 
gain access to an intact brain. The movements of 
the animal seem guided by impressions made on its 
retina, as well as on other sensory nerves ; we may 
perhaps speak of the animal as the subject of sensa- 
tions; but there is no satisfactory evidence that it 
possesses either visual or other perceptions, or that 
the sensations which it experiences give rise to 
ideas." * 

Even spontaneity which at one time was supposed 
to be lost it is now agreed returns if the animal is 
kept alive long enough. It " wanders about in the 
room untiringly the greater part of the day" 

Of course there are differences in the animal's be- 
havior when compared with normal behavior, but 
these differences are not so easy to interpret in psy- 
chological terms. Loeb, apparently following 

* M. Foster: A Text Book of Physiology, 1895, page 726. 


Schrader, does not believe the animal is blind or 
deaf or without sensation for it reacts to light, to 
noise, to smell, to tactile impressions, etc. It avoids 
obstacles and is guided by visual impressions, etc. 
The falcon jumps at and catches a mouse introduced 
in its cage; the dog growls and snaps if its paw is 
pinched and endeavors to get away or bite the of- 
fending hand; the pigeon flies and alights upon a 
bar, apparently visually measuring distance, and so 
on. But though it is guided by visual and other sen- 
sory impressions, does it have visual, auditory and 
other images, that is, conscious sensory states ? This 
is not easy to answer. It certainly acts like an ani- 
mal that is not blind nor deaf nor without tactual 
sensation, and yet it is conceivable that it is guided 
simply by sensory mechanisms without conscious 
sensation. The main reason, apparently, for believ- 
ing the animal to be without sensation, as some be- 
lieve (e. g., Morgan) is the absence of the cerebral 
cortex in which alone sensation is believed to be " lo- 
calized. ' ' Recently Eothmann * has succeeded in 
keeping alive for three years a dog from which the 
entire cerebrum was extirpated. It was then killed. 
Although the dog, like Goltz' dog, in its behavior 
exhibited an abundance of functions in the spheres 
of mobility, sensibility, feeding, barking, etc., Both- 
mann came to the conclusion that it was blind and 

* Von M. Eothmann : Demonstration des Hundes ohne Gross- 
irn. Bericht uber den V Kongress f. Experiment. Psychol. in Ber- 
lin, 1912, page 256. The report is too meager to admit of independ- 
ent judgment of the animal's behavior in many of its details. 


deaf.* Although apparently without taste for bit- 
ter, sweet, sour, and acid, yet the dog reacted differ- 
ently to edible and non-edible substances, swallowing 
the former and rejecting the latter (moist sand) ; 
raw flesh was eaten preferably to cooked flesh -and 
Goltz' dog rejected from its mouth food made bit- 
ter with quinine. Some kind of gustatory processes 
(probably purely reflex as in Pawlow's association 
experiments) were therefore retained though not 
necessarily taste as such. But blindness and deaf- 
ness in the dog cannot negative the retention in 
birds and other animals of visual and auditory im- 
pressions of some kind which guide and originate 
behavior. But whether such impressions are psy- 
chologically sensations or not, the animal certainly 
does not possess visual or other perceptions, be- 
cause the " sensations" have no " meaning." 
Schrader's falcon, for example, would jump at and 
catch with its claws a moving mouse in the cage, but 
there the matter was at an end ; it did not devour it 
as would a normal falcon. Any moving object had 
for it the same meaning as a mouse and excited the 
same movement. So the decerebrate dog does not 
distinguish friend from stranger and other dogs 
have no meaning for it. All objects are alike to all 
decerebrate animals. In the popular language of 
the street "all coons look alike" to them. In other 

* Until the basal ganglia have been microscopically examined it 
cannot be determined that the loss of function was not due to sec- 
ondary organic lesions. In Goltz' dog, which acted like a blind dog, 
one optic nerve was cut and the corpora striata and optic thalami 
were partly involved in the lesion. 


words the main defect is loss of memory for con- 
scious experiences, of what Loeb calls associative- 
memory, the conscious memory which gives meaning 
to sensations, transforms them by synthesis into 
perception of objects and gives still further mean- 
ing to the objects. Hence for the pigeon without its 
cerebrum "Everything is only a mass in space, it 
moves aside for every pigeon or attempts to climb 
over it, just as it would in the case of a stone. All 
authors agree in the statement that to these animals 
all objects are alike. They have no enemies and no 
friends. They live like hermits no matter in how 
large a company they find themselves. The lan- 
guishing coo of the male makes as little impression 
upon the female deprived of its cerebrum as the rat- 
tling of peas or the whistle which formerly made it 
hasten to its feeding place. Neither does the female 
show interest in its young. The young ones that 
have just learned to fly pursue the mother, crying 
unceasingly for food, but they might as well beg 
food of a stone." * 

One of the chief utilities of conscious memory is 
the means it offers the psycho-physiological organ- 
ism to make use of past experiences to adapt present 
conduct to a present situation. This the brainless 
animal cannot do. Hence it is a mindless physio- 
logical automaton. All the actions performed by it, 
however complex they may be, are unquestionably 
performed and primarily conditioned by inherited 
neural arrangements and dispositions. They may 

* Quoted from Schrader by Loeb. 


be even regarded as complexly compounded reflex 
processes similar excepting in complexity, as Sher- 
rington has held, to the mechanisms of the spinal 
cord. The behavior of the animal is therefore by 
definition instinctive. But even so this fact in no 
way throws light upon the intrinsic nature of the 
physiological process, but only upon the conditions 
of its occurrence. Acquired behavior is also condi- 
tioned conditioned by acquired dispositions. The 
difference physiologically between the two is that in 
instinctive behavior the neural processes are con- 
fined to pathways established by evolutionary de- 
velopment, and in acquired behavior to pathways 
established by experience. Both must be condi- 
tioned by pathways, and the process in its inner na- 
ture must be the same in both. Many cortical proc- 
esses, to be sure, are conscious i. e., correlated 
with consciousness but probably not all. And this 
quality of consciousness permitting of conscious 
memory is of great utility in the organization of ac- 
quired dispositions that provide the means for the 
adaption of the animal to each new environmental 

Furthermore, it is not at all certain that the be- 
havior of the decerebrate animal is not in part de- 
termined by secondarily acquired dispositions. In 
the normal animal instinctive actions become modi- 
fied and perfected after the very first performances 
of the act by conscious experience * and it is not at 
all certain that dispositions so acquired and essen- 

* Cf . Lloyd Morgan: Instinct and Experience, 1912. 


tial for these modifications are not conserved and 
incorporated in the unconscious neural arrange- 
ments of the subcortical centers. So far as this may 
be the case the acquired modifications of instinctive 
behavior may be manifested in the actions of the de- 
cerebrate animals. In other words, the unconscious 
processes of the lower nervous centers motivating 
movements (and visceral functions) may include 
acquired dispositions or physiological memories. 

That the subcortical centers are capable of mem- 
ory seems to have been shown for the first time by 
Eothmann's dog. This mindless animal proved to 
be capable of a certain amount of education. It 
learned to avoid hitting against objects, and to do 
certain tricks jumping over a hurdle and follow- 
ing on its hind legs a stool upon which its fore feet 
were placed as the stool was dragged forward. ' ' In 
the perfection of all these performances the influ- 
ence of practice was easily recognized." This 
means, if the interpretation given is correct, that 
new dispositions and new connections may be ac- 
quired within the lower centers without the inter- 
vention of the integrating influence of the cortex or 
conscious intelligence.* This is an important con- 
tribution for apparently the attempt to educate 
brainless animals had not been previously made, 
and their capability for education demonstrated. 

The important bearing which this fact has upon 

* Dr. Morgan in his work, "Instinct and Experience," 1912, pub- 
lished before Eothmann 's observations, remarks that this ' ' is not in- 
herently improbable ' ' although it had not as yet been demonstrated. 


this discussion is that it shows that unconscious proc- 
esses are capable of memory, that is physiological 
memory. It may be said that this statement needs 
some modification if the sensory "impressions" 
guiding the decerebrate animal are to be interpreted 
as true psychological, however elementary, "sensa- 
tions." It would seem to me on the contrary only 
to accentuate the fact that the processes of the 
brainless animal are on a transition level between 
the purely unconscious processes of the spinal ani- 
mal and the purely (if ever wholly so) conscious 
processes of the normal animal, and that intrinsi- 
cally all are of the same nature. If sensation en- 
ters into the complex reflex reactions of the brain- 
less animal it would seem that it can only be an ele- 
mental conscious factor in a complicated uncon- 
scious physiological mechanism. In this mechanism 
it can have no more specific importance in deter- 
mining behavior, because of the fact of its being a 
psychological state, than if it were a receptor 
"impression" intercalated in the arc of an innate 
process. It is not linked with any associative mem- 
ories of the past or foresight into the future ; it does 
not constitute conscious intelligence. As a con- 
scious experience it cannot have that kind of "mean- 
ing" which in the normal animal modifies instinc- 
tive processes and determines conduct. It prob- 
ably plays simply the same part in the whole proc- 
ess, which otherwise is wholly unconscious, that the 
associative sensory image plays in determining the 
flow of thick or thin saliva in Pawlow's dogs sim- 


ply a single link in a chain of associated reflex proc- 

The next point to which I would direct attention 
is that from an objective point of view the behavior 
of the decerebrate animal may be in nature intelli- 
gent in the empirical sense of that word. The dog 
that growls and snaps when his foot is pinched, 
tries to draw it away, and, failing that, bites at the 
offending hand; the "educated" dog that jumps 
over a hurdle, and walks on his hind legs, following 
a stool supporting his front legs, to my way of think- 
ing performs intelligent actions whether it has a 
brain or not. If intelligence is arbitrarily limited to 
actions performed by conscious processes, then in- 
telligence becomes a mere question of terms.* 

* From the point of view here adopted, the recent discussions and 
controversies over the problems of "instinct and intelligence" have 
been much muddled by the arbitrary denial of conscious elements to 
an instinctive process, and by the acceptation of consciousness or 
conscious experience as the criterion of intelligence. In this view 
instinct and intelligence become contrasted concepts which to my 
way of thinking they are not necessarily at all. If it is admitted 
that instinct is an innate disposition, its contrasted quality is that 
which is acquired and not the quality of consciousness. It is true 
that acquired behavior is commonly if not always determined by con- 
scious processes (conscious experience), but likewise innate behavior 
may be determined by processes which contain conscious elements. 
Surely fear is instinctive and is a conscious element in an innate 
process; and so must be visual and other sensory images, as in the 
first peck of a chicken. To look upon the first visual image simply 
as conscious "experience," as an "onlooker," and reject it as a 
factor in the process which determines that first peck, seems to me 
to be arbitrary psychology if not physiology. If consciousness may 
je a quality of an innate process and why not? it cannot be a 


There arises also the practical difficulty that certain 
types of behavior, which by common assent and com- 
mon sense are regarded as purely automatic and 
unintelligent, must be termed intelligent because 
guided by consciousness. I cannot help thinking 
that "intelligence" is a pragmatic question, not a 
biological or psychological one. It would be much 
more conducive to a clear understanding of bio- 
logical problems to use intelligence only as a con- 
venient and useful expression, like sanity or in- 
sanity, to designate certain behavior which conforms 
to a type which, without strictly defining its limits, 
popular language has defined as intelligent. San- 
ity and insanity have ceased to be terms of scientific 
value because they cannot be defined in terms of 
specific mental conditions and much less in terms 
of mental processes. So intelligence cannot be de- 
criterion of intelligence. The true converse of the conscious is the 

This adopted antithesis between consciousness and instinct, from 
this point of view as well as the arbitrary limitation of the localiza- 
tion of the whole of an instinctive process to the subcortical centers, 
vitiates the force of the very able presentation of the subject by Dr. 
Morgan, if I correctly understand him. I know of no data which 
forbid the cortex to be included in the innate mechanism of an in- 
stinctive process. On the contrary, it is difficult to understand in- 
stinctive behavior and its modifications through conscious experience 
unless cortical centers are included in the psycho-physiological arcs. 
At any rate we may define instinct and intelligence in terms of the 
conscious and the unconscious, or in brain terms, but we should not 
mix up these aspects with that of localization in the definition. 
Mr. McDougall 's conception of instinct appeals to me more strongly 
from both a biological and a psychological point of view, and further 
seems to me to be more in consonance with the data of experience. 


fined in terms of conscious and unconscious proc- 
esses. Any attempt to do so meets with insuperable 
difficulties and becomes "confusion worse con- 
founded. ' ' When we say then that the behavior of 
the decerebrate dog may be intelligent, all that is 
meant is that the animal exhibits behavior identical 
with that which in the normal animal we would em- 
pirically call intelligent. In this sense unconscious 
processes may exhibit intelligence. It was from this 
viewpoint, I think, that Foster concluded: "In 
short, the more we study the phenomena exhibited 
by animals possessing a part only of their brain, 
the closer we are pushed to the conclusion that no 
sharp line can be drawn between volition and lack 
of volition, or between the possession and absence 
of intelligence. Between the muscle-nerve prepara- 
tion at one limit, and our conscious willing selves at 
the other, there is a continuous gradation without 
a break; we cannot fix on any linear barrier in the 
brain or in the general nervous system, and say 
'beyond this there is volition and intelligence, but 
up to this there is none. ' " * 

It has already been pointed out (Lecture V) that, 
in man, complicated actions which have been voli- 
tionally and perhaps laboriously acquired may be 
afterwards involuntarily and unconsciously per- 
formed.f In other words, after intelligent actions 

* A Text Book of Physiology, 1893, page 727. 

f The localization of the processes concerned in all such acquired 
automatic behavior whether it is in the cortex or subcortical cen- 
ters is an unsolved problem. 


have been acquired by conscious processes, they may 
be performed by subconscious processes for which 
there is no conscious awareness and probably these 
may be either coconscious or entirely unconscious. 
There is no sharp dividing line between the activities 
of the unconscious, coconscious, and conscious. 

When we descend in the scale of animal life to the 
insects (bees, ants, etc.,) we observe motor activity 
of a highly complex character of a kind that is 
termed intelligent, but we are forced to conclude, 
from various considerations, that the elements of 
consciousness have dwindled away to what can be 
nothing more than mere sensibility. In other words 
consciousness is reduced to its lowest terms, but 
behavior and the neural processes are maintained 
at a high level of complexity. Accordingly there is 
a disproportion between the complexity of the mo- 
tor behavior and the inferred simplicity of con- 
sciousness, for in the higher animals the former 
would be correlated with complex psychological 
processes. If this be so, the motor activities must be 
determined by processes which are mostly uncon- 

In still lower forms of life the motor activities can 
be referred to simple tropisms, and thus necessarily 
are wholly unconscious. 

Between the most complex unconscious physio- 
logical processes performed by the nervous system 
and the simpler cerebral processes accompanied by 
consciousness there is not as wide a step as might 
seem when superficially viewed. The physiological 


process may, as we have seen, manifest itself in 
acts of quite as intelligent a character as those ex- 
hibited by the conscious process, and indeed more 
so ; for the conscious act may be little more than a 
limited reflex. On the other hand a psychological 
process may be so elementary that it contains noth- 
ing of awareness of self, of intelligence, or of voli- 
tion in the true sense nothing more, perhaps, than 
an elementary sensation without even perception. 
But it may be said that the presence of the most 
rudimentary state of consciousness makes all the 
difference and renders the gulf between the two 

We are not called upon to discuss that question 
here. It is one which involves the ultimate nature 
of physical processes. A distinction should be made 
between psychological and psychical, these not being 
coextensive and always interchangeable terms. 
Psychological pertains to the empirical data of con- 
sciousness, (thoughts, ideas, sensations, etc.) while 
psychical pertains to the inner or ultimate nature 
of these data. Though the data as given in con- 
sciousness are psychical, that which is psychical may 
not be solely manifested as psychological phenom- 
ena. It may be manifested as physical phenomena 
and perhaps be identified with the energy of the 
universe. Hence the doctrine of panpsychism. And 
so it may be that in its ultimate analysis an uncon- 
scious process is psychical (monism) although not 
psychological and not manifesting itself as a datum 
of consciousness. Certain it is that, objectively 


viewed, there is nothing to distinguish physiologi- 
cal from psychological intelligence. If the extraor- 
dinary instinctive habits exhibited by insects, such 
as bees and ants and by still lower forms of animal 
life, can rightly be interpreted as, in large part at 
least, manifestations of physiological processes, as 
is quite possible, the distinction between the con- 
scious and the unconscious in respect to intelligence 
and adaptability to environment would be reduced 
to one only of degree. That some of the lowest 
forms of life are endowed with consciousness, in any 
sense in which the word has psychological meaning, 
seems incredible, though they manifest instinctive 
intelligence of no mean order. The fact probably is, 
as I have just intimated, that those processes we 
call physiological and those we call psychological 
are in their inner nature identical, and the former 
are quite capable of functioning, incredible as it 
may seem, in a fashion that we are accustomed to 
believe can only be the attribute of conscious intelli- 
gence. This does not mean, of course, that the phy- 
siological intelligence can reach the same degree of 
perfection as that reached by conscious intelligence, 
though conversely, the latter may be of a lower 
order than physiological intelligence.* From this 
point of view we are logically entitled to regard 

* If the subconscious processes which perform a mathematical cal- 
culation and other problems, which logically determine the symbolism 
of a dream, etc., can be correctly interpreted as unconscious, they 
plainly exhibit a higher order of intelligence than any conscious 
processes in lower animals, or even some conscious processes of man, 
like brushing away a fly. 


physiological processes, even of the lower nervous 
centers and even though they are not acquired but 
due to congenital structural and functional arrange- 
ment, as phases of the unconscious. 

Psycho-physical parallelism and monism. According to 
the doctrine of psycho-physical parallelism every 
mental process is correlated with (accompanied by) 
a brain process. As brain processes thus viewed 
are "unconscious" (in the sense of not having the 
attribute of consciousness) we may express this in 
other terms and say: every "conscious" process is 
accompanied by an " unconscious ' ' process. I have 
no intention of entering here into the question of 
the validity of the doctrine of psycho-physical 
parallelism. I wish merely to point out that if 
parallelism is a true formulation of the mind- 
brain problem, as I have just stated it, the con- 
verse ought to hold true, namely, that every brain 
process of a certain kind involving intelligence 
ought to be correlated with consciousness. But if 
some subconscious processes manifesting what is 
equivalent to thought, reasoning, judgment, imagina- 
tion, volition, etc., are unconscious as seems likely 
if not probable then this converse does not hold 
true. This has some bearing on the validity of the 
doctrine ; for if physical processes can perform sub- 
stantially the same function as conscious intelli- 
gence it is difficult to reconcile this fact with what 
I may call naive psycho-physical parallelism. 

It is reconcilable, however, with psychic monism. 


According to this doctrine it is not a question of 
parallelism at all. There is only one process the 
psychical. The physical brain process is only an 
aspect or special mode of apprehending this one. 
All is psychical but not psychological. That which 
we apprehend in the form of the unconscious is 
really psychical and hence is capable of performing 
the same kind of function as it performs when it 
becomes psychological. It is not at all certain that 
unconscious processes may not comprise an intelli- 
gence possessing faculties identical in kind with 
those of conscious intelligence and indistinguisha- 
ble from the latter. Subconscious processes may 
exhibit perception, cognition, reason, imagination, 
conation (will), feeling, etc., and it is possible that 
some of these processes may be correctly inter- 
preted as unconscious. At any rate, from the point 
of view of monism, whether the real psychical proc- 
ess or, probably more correctly, how much of it 
shall emerge as a psychological state of conscious- 
ness depends upon intrinsic conditions. Though we 
cannot penetrate within them it is quite conceivable 
that it is a matter of complexity of synthesization 
and cooperative activity of psychical energies. This 
is a most interesting problem closely related to 
that of awareness and self-consciousness. 

The meanings of the unconscious, subconscious, and co- 
conscious Though the term "unconscious" is in 
general use it has so many connotations derived 
from its various meanings in metaphysics, psychol- 


ogy, and physiology that its use has given rise to 
considerable confusion of thought, particularly, I am 
compelled to believe, in the interpretation of specific 
psycho-physiological phenomena. Nevertheless, it 
has been so well established in our nomenclature that 
we could not replace it if we would. Nor is it wholly 
desirable to do so. It is a good and useful term, 
but I believe that with each advance in the pre- 
cision of our knowledge we ought, so far as accumu- 
lative data permit, to give precision to the concept 
for which it stands. Just as in physical science we 
attempt to give precision to our concept of elec- 
tricity in conformity with new data accumulated 
from time to time, so our psychological concepts 
should be defined and limited in accordance with 
the advance in knowledge. Some do not like to 
define the term, not being quite willing to commit 
themselves unreservedly to the complete acceptance 
of the physiological theory of memory and to cut 
adrift from the metaphysical concept of a sublimi- 
nal mind. If the psycho-physiological theory of 
memory, which is now generally accepted, is sound, 
we have one meaning of the unconscious which is 
a very definite concept, namely, the brain residua, 
physiological "dispositions" or neurograms in 
which the experiences of life are conserved. These 
terms become, therefore, synonyms for the uncon- 
scious. That, under certain conditions, the passive 
neurograms may, under stimulation, become active 
and function unconsciously (i. e., without corre- 
sponding psychological equivalents being introduced 


into the personal consciousness), need not invali- 
date the concept. We are then dealing with an un- 
conscious and dynamic process. The effects of such 
functioning are simply the manifestations of the 
unconscious and may be recognized either in modi- 
fications of the stream of consciousness or in bodily 
disturbances. The term unconscious is an appro- 
priate and descriptive term to characterize that 
which is devoid of the attributes of consciousness. 
This use of the term has been sanctioned by com- 
mon usage. 

Unfortunately, however, the term has been also 
employed to characterize another and distinct class 
of facts, namely Co-[or Sub-] conscious Ideas. We 
shall have occasion to study these psychological 
phenomena in other lectures.* "We have seen ex- 
amples in many of the phenomena I have cited. It 
is sufficient to say here, that as conceived of, and as 
we have seen, they are very definite states of cocon- 
sciousness a coexisting dissociated consciousness 
or coconsciousness of which the personal conscious- 
ness is not aware, i. e., of which it is "unconscious." 
Hence they have been called "unconscious ideas" 
and have been included in the unconscious, particu- 
larly by German writers. But this is plainly using 
the term in a different sense using it as a synonym 
for the longer phrase, "ideas we are unaware of," 
and not as a characterization of that which is physi- 
ological and non-psychological. 

"Unconscious ideas" in this sense (the equiva- 

* Not included in this volume. 


lent of coconscious ideas) would include conscious 
states that we are not aware of simply because not 
in the focus of attention but in the fringe of the 
content of consciousness. The term would also in- 
clude pathologically split-off and independently act- 
ing coconscious ideas or systems of ideas such as 
occur in hysteria, reaching their apogee in cocon- 
scious personalities and in automatic writings. 
Here we have a series of facts essentially different 
from the conceptual facts of physical residua, the 
form in which experiences are conceived to be con- 
served. Manifestly it is confusing and incorrect to 
define both by ''the unconscious." And to speak 
of the former as "unconscious ideas" and of the 
latter as "unconscious," although technically cor- 
rect, leads to confusion from using the term "un- 
conscious" in two different senses.* 

As a concept in a scheme of metaphysics, "un- 
conscious ideas" i. e., ideas of which we are not 
conscious, have long been recognized. Leibnitz was 
the first to maintain, on theoretical grounds and by 
a priori reasoning, the existence of ideas of which we 
are not aware, as did likewise Kant, influenced by 
Leibnitz, and later Schilling, and Herbart; while 
Hartmann evolved the unconscious into a biological 
and metaphysical system.f 

* It has been objected that to speak of unconscious ideas is a 
contradiction of terms. This seems to me to smack of quibbling as 
we know well enough that the adjective is used in the sense of un- 

f For a good account of the history of the theory of unconscious 
ideas in philosophy see Hartmann 's "Philosophy of the Uncon- 


By most American, English, and French psychol- 
ogists such ideas, as conceived at least by Leibnitz, 
Kant, and Herbart, would to-day be called sub- 
conscious or coconscious ideas. Hartmann included 
all physiological processes of the nervous system 
in the Unconscious and ascribed to them special 
attributes (will, purpose, etc.). The Unconscious 
accordingly has connotations from which it is not 
easy to rid ourselves in dealing with it. It is gen- 
erally agreed that it is desirable to have a term 
which shall cover all classes of facts coconscious 
ideas, conserved experiences, and physiological proc- 

scious, " where the following quotations may be found: "To have 
ideas and yet not to be conscious of them there seems to be a con- 
tradiction in that for how can we know that we have them if we 
are not conscious of them? Nevertheless, we may become aware in- 
directly that we have an idea, although we be not directly cognizant 
of the same." (Kant, Anthropology, sec. 5.) And again: "In- 
numerable are the sensations and perceptions whereof we are not 
conscious although we must undoubtedly conclude that we have 
them, obscure ideas as they may be called (to be found in animals 
as well as in man). The clear ideas, indeed, are but an infinitely 
small fraction of these same exposed to consciousness. That only a 
few spots on the great chart of our minds are illuminated may well 
fill us with amazement in contemplating this nature of ours. (Ibid.) 

"Now unconscious ideas" are such "as are in consciousness 
without our being aware of them" (Herbart). 

It is interesting to notice how Kant's statement might well be 
substituted for that of Myers' of his "Subliminal." It is difficult 
to understand the peculiar antagonistic attitude of certain theoreti- 
cal psychologists to the theory of subconscious (coconscious) ideas 
in view of the history of this theory in philosophy. They seem to 
have forgotten their philosophy and not to have kept pace with ex- 
perimental psychology. 


esses without committal of opinion as to inter- 

It does not follow, however, that the term ''un- 
conscious" is the one that should be chosen. On 
the contrary, as unconscious has two distinct and 
different meanings (that pertaining to unawareness 
and that which is non-psychological) it is a very 
undesirable term if we wish to be precise in our 
terminology. That we should have a term which shall 
precisely define ideas which are not in awareness and 
which shall distinguish them from physiological 
processes is necessitated by the fact that such ideas 
in themselves form a distinct field of investigation. 

The term "subconscious" is commonly used, ex- 
cepting by German writers, to characterize these co- 
conscious ideas. In fact, by some French medical 
writers, particularly Janet, it is very precisely 
limited to such ideas. By other authors it is em- 
ployed in this sense and also to include the physical 
residua of experiences, and sometimes with the addi- 
tional meaning of unconscious physiological neuro- 
grams, or processes, which it defines in fact, to 
denote any conserved experience or process outside 
of consciousness. On the other hand, among these 
authors, some do not admit the validity of the con- 
cept of coconscious ideas, but interpret all so-called 
subconscious manifestations as the expression of 
the physiological functioning of physiological neu- 
rograms in which the experiences of life are con- 
served. Subconscious and unconscious are, there- 

* See footnote on p. 149. 



fore, quite commonly, but not always, employed as 
synonyms to define two or three different classes 
of facts. For practical reasons, as already stated, 
it is desirable to have a term which shall embrace 
all classes of facts, and of the two terms in com- 
mon use, subconscious and unconscious, the former 
is preferable, as it is not subject to the double mean- 
ing above mentioned. I, therefore, use the term 
subconscious in a generic sense to include (a) cocon- 
scious ideas or processes; (b) unconscious neuro- 
grams, and (c) unconscious processes. Of course it 
is only a matter of terminology. The conceptual 
facts may then be thus classified: 

f (synonym: 

The coconscious J subconscious 

a : Conserved 
or neural 

The subconscious H 

The unconscious < 

b: Active 
or neural 


Subconscious as an adjective used to qualify ideas 
is plainly equivalent to coconscious ideas. This 
terminology I have found useful in keeping the dif- 
ferent classes of conceptual facts separate in my 
mind and I believe it will prove to be equally useful 
to others. With the conceptual facts clearly differ- 
entiated it will be generally easy to recognize the 
various senses in which the terms are used when 
found in the writings of others. 

The unconscious as a fundamental of personality. A 
survey of all the facts and their relations, which I 
have outlined in the preceding lectures, brings into 
strong relief the important principle that no matter 
in what state complexes of ideas are formed, so 
long as they are conserved, they become a part of 
our personality. They become dormant, but, being 
conserved, they may under favorable conditions be 
awakened and enter our conscious life. It matters 
not whether complexes of ideas have been formed in 
our personal consciousness, or in a state of hypno- 
sis, in dreams, in conditions of dissociated person- 
ality, in coconsciousness, or any other dissociated 
state. They all become parts of ourselves and may 
afterwards be revived under favoring conditions, 
whether volitionally, automatically, by artificial de- 
vices, by involuntary stimuli, or other agencies. 
They may or may not be subject to voluntary recall 
as recollections, but, so long as they form part of 
our dormant consciousness as physiological neuro- 
grams, they belong to the personal self. " After 


all, ' ' as Miss B. used to say, and correctly, referring 
to her different dissociated personalities, BI, B 
III, and BIV, "after all, they are all myself." It 
makes no difference in what state an experience has 
occurred. A potential memory of it may persist and 
may, in one way or another, be revived, no matter 
how or when it originated. 

Through the conception of the swfcconscious as 
resolvable, on the one hand, into the wwconscious, 
passive or active physiological dispositions, and, on 
the other hand, into coactive conscious states, the 
subconscious becomes simplified and intelligible. It 
offers a basis on which may be constructed compre- 
hensible theories of memory, suggestibility, post- 
hypnotic phenomena, dreams, automatic writing 
and similar phenomena, artificial hallucinations, the 
protean phenomena of hysteria, and the psycho- 
neuroses, as well as the mechanism of thought. It 
enables us also to construct a rational concept of 
personality and self. As we shall see, when we take 
up the study of multiple personality in later lectures, 
out of the aggregate of the accumulated and varied 
experience of the past conserved in the unconscious 
may be constructed a number of different person- 
alities, each depending upon a synthesis and rear- 
rangement of life's neurograms and innate disposi- 
tions and instincts. All dormant ideas with their 
feeling tones and conative tendencies belong to our 
personality, but they may be arranged with varying 
instincts and innate dispositions into a number of 
differentiated systems, each synthesized into a cor- 


responding personality. In the unconscious may 
be conserved a vast number of life's experiences 
ranging in time almost from the cradle to the grave. 
The hopes, the wishes, the anxieties of childhood 
may still be there, lying fallow, but capable of in- 
jecting themselves under favoring conditions into 
our personalities. Properly speaking, from this 
point of view, aside from certain artificial and path- 
ological conditions, there is, normally, no distinct 
"subconscious self," or "subliminal self," or "sec- 
ondary self," or "hidden self." In artificial and 
pathological conditions there may be, as has been 
frequently shown, a splitting of consciousness and 
the aggregation into a secondary coconscious sys- 
tem of large systems of ideas which have all the 
characteristics of personality. This secondary per- 
sonality (of which the primary personality is not 
aware) may have its own memories, feelings, per- 
ceptions, and thoughts. It may appropriate to itself 
various complexes of neurograms deposited by the 
experiences of life which are not at the disposal of 
the principal personality. Such a coconscious sys- 
tem may properly be spoken of as a subconscious 
self. But there is no evidence that, normally, such 
systems exist. All that we are entitled to affirm 
is that every individual's consciousness may include 
ideas of which he is not aware, and that he has at 
his disposal, to a greater or less extent, a large 
unconscious storehouse in which are neurographi- 
cally conserved a large and varied mass of life's 
experiences. These experiences may be arranged 


in systems, as we shall see in the next lecture, but 
they do not constitute a "self." To speak of 
them as a subconscious, subliminal, secondary, or 
hidden self is to construct concepts which are 
allegories, metaphors, symbolisms, personifications 
of concrete phenomena. Their use tends to falla- 
cious reasoning and to perverted inductions from 
the ^cts. Becoming major premises in a syllo- 
gisi^lhey lead to erroneous interpretations of the 
simplest facts, just as fixed ideas or obsessions 
tend to a perverted interpretation of the environ- 

We are now in a position to see that the psycho- 
physiological theory of memory has a far-reaching 
significance. The facts which have been brought 
before you in evidence of the theory have been 
selected largely from those which were capable of 
verification by experimentation and by other objec- 
tive testimony. They include a large variety of ex- 
periences which occurred in pathological conditions 
like amnesia and multiple personality, and in arti- 
ficial conditions like hypnosis and intoxication. 
Such abnormal conditions enable us to show by tes- 
timony, independent of the individual, that these 
experiences had actually occurred, and, therefore, 
to show that the reproductions of these experiences 
were in principle truthful memories. They also 
enable us to appreciate the enormous variety and 
quantity of experiences which, although absolutely 
beyond the power of voluntary recall, may be con- 
served nevertheless as neurograms, and also to ap- 


predate the minuteness of detail in which the brain 
records may be preserved. 

If you will stop a moment to think, and give play 
to your imagination, you will see that the principle 
of the neurographic conservation of experiences 
must be true not only of our outer life, of our ex- 
periences with our environment, but of our whole 
inner life, normal as well as abnormal. It is always 
possible that any thought, any feeling, however 
trivial and transitory, may leave neurograms in the 
brain. It is always possible that even a fleeting 
doubt or scruple, thoughts which flash into the mind 
and straightway are put out again, all may leave 
their records and dispositions to function again. 
Even a passing doubt which any of you may enter- 
tain regarding the interpretation of the phenomena 
I have described, and the correctness of our con- 
clusions, may be recorded. Indeed, it is a matter 
of some importance for the understanding of ob- 
normal mental conditions that many of those horrid 
little sneaking thoughts which we do not like to 
admit to ourselves, the thoughts which for one rea- 
son or another we endeavor to repress, to put out of 
our minds, may leave their indelible traces. In fact, 
these are the very thoughts, the ones which we try 
hardest to forget, to push aside, which are most 
likely to be conserved. The harder we try, the 
stronger the feelings attached to them, the more 
likely they are to leave neurograms in the brain 
though they may never be reproduced. This has 
been shown by observation of pathological condi- 


tions, like hysteria and psychasthenia, and by ex- 
perimentation. In repressing our thoughts we do 
not put them out of our minds, but, as the subject 
previously cited, who in hypnosis could recall such 
repressed thoughts, said, we put them into our minds. 
In other words, we conserve them as neurograms. 
In one sense, I suppose, we may say that every 
one leads a double life. Let me hasten to say to 
you, I mean this not in a moral but in an intellectual 
sense. Every one's mental life may fairly be said 
to be divided between those ideas, thoughts, and 
feelings which he receives from and gives out to 
his social world, the social environment in which he 
lives, and those which belong more properly to his 
inner life and the innermost sanctuary of his per- 
sonality and character. The former include the 
activities and the educational acquisitions which he 
seeks to cultivate and conserve for future use. The 
latter include the more intimate communings with 
himself, the doubts and fears and scruples pertain- 
ing to the moral, religious, and other problems of 
life, and the struggles and trials and difficulties 
which beset its paths ; the internal contests with the 
temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil. 
The conventionalities of the social organization re- 
quire that the outward expression of many of these 
should be put under restraint. Indeed, society in- 
sists that some, the sexual strivings, are aspects of 
life and human nature which are not to be spoken 
or thought of. Now, of course, this inner life must 
also leave its neurographic tracings along with the 


outer life, and must, potentially at least, become a 
part of our personality, liable to manifest itself in 
character and in other directions. But, more than 
this, abnormal psychology, through its technical 
methods of investigation and through the perverted 
manifestations exhibited in sick conditions of mind 
and body, has shown us that the neurograms de- 
posited as the experiences of this inner life may 
flower, to use an expression of the lamented William 
James, below the threshold of consciousness, and, 
under certain conditions, where the mind is in un- 
stable equilibrium, burst forth in mental and bodily 
manifestations of an unusual character. Thus in 
processes of this kind we find an explanation of 
religious phenomena like sudden conversion; of 
dreams and of certain pathological phenomena like 
the hallucinations, deliria, crises, and bodily mani- 
festations of hysteria, and the numerous automatic 
phenomena of spiritualistic mediums. Such phe- 
nomena may then be interpreted as the flowering or 
functioning of the unconscious. 

The essential difference in the consequences which 
follow from this psycho-physiological conception of 
memory, based as it is on the unconscious, and those 
which follow from that conception which is popu- 
larly held must be obvious. According to popular 
understanding the mental life which we have out- 
lived, the life which we have put behind us, whether 
that of childhood or of passing phases of adult life, 
is only an ephemeral, evanescent phase of conscious- 
ness which once out of mind, put aside or forgotten, 


need no longer be taken into consideration as per- 
taining to, much less influencing, our personality. 
Writers of fiction who undertake to depict human 
nature almost invariably, I believe, are governed by 
this point of view. They describe their characters 
as throwing overboard their past, their dominating 
beliefs, convictions, and other traits as easily as 
we should toss undesirable refuse into the ocean. 
Their heroes and heroines jettison their psychologi- 
cal cargoes 'as if they were barrels of molasses when- 
ever their personalities show signs of going down 
in the storms of life's experiences. According to 
this view, which is derived from an imperfect con- 
ception of mental processes, any passing phase of 
consciousness ceases to have potential existence or 
influence as soon as it is forgotten, or as soon as 
it ceases to be a consciously dominating belief or 
motive of life. It is assumed that so long as we 
do not bring it back into consciousness it belongs 
to us no more than as if it had originated in the 
mind of another, or had taken flight on the wings 
of a dove. This is true in part only. A phase of 
consciousness may not be conserved, or it may be- 
come so modified by the clash with new experiences 
that a rearrangement of its elements takes place and 
it becomes, for instance, a new motive or belief, or 
a new setting to give a new meaning to an idea. On 
the other hand, any passing phase may, as we have 
seen, still belong to our personality even though it 
lies hidden in its depths. That we no longer recall 
it, bring it voluntarily into the field of our personal 


consciousness, does not negative its continuing 
(though dormant) existence, and its further influ- 
ence upon the personality through the subconscious 
workings of the mind. 

In conclusion, and by way of partial recapitula- 
tion, we may say, first: The records of our lives 
are written in unconscious dormant complexes and 
therein conserved so long as the residua retain their 
dynamic potentialities. It is the unconscious, rather 
than the conscious, which is the important factor 
in personality and intelligence. The unconscious 
furnishes the formative material out of which our 
judgments, our beliefs, our ideals, and our char- 
acters are shaped. 

In the second place, the unconscious, besides being 
a static storehouse, has dynamic functions. It is 
evident that, theoretically, if unconscious complexes 
are once formed they may, under favoring condi- 
tions of the psycho-physical organism, become re- 
vived and play an important part in pathological 
mental life. If through dissociation they could be 
freed from the normal inhibition and the counter- 
balancing influences of the normal mental mechan- 
ism, and given an independence and freedom from 
voluntary control, they might, by functioning, pro- 
duce abnormal states like fixed ideas, delusions, au- 
tomatisms, hallucinations, etc. A study of such ab- 
normal phenomena confirms this theoretical view 
and finds in this conception of the unconscious an 
explanation of the origin of many of them. The 
hallucinations and bizarre notions and delusions of 


the insane, the hysteric, and psychasthenic, where 
all seems chaos, without law or order, are often due 
to the resurrection and fabricating effect of uncon- 
scious complexes formed by the earlier experiences 
of the patient's life. Of course, the mechanism by 
which such phenomena are produced is a compli- 
cated one about which there is much difference of 
opinion and which we cannot enter into here. In 
post-hypnotic phenomena and artificial hallucina- 
tions we have experimental examples of the 

More than this, and more important, there is con- 
siderable evidence going to show that conserved ex- 
periences functioning as subconscious processes take 
part in and determine the conscious processes of 
everyday life. On the one hand stored neurograms 
may undergo subconscious incubation, assimilating 
the material deposited by the varied experiences of 
life to finally burst forth in ripened judgments, be- 
liefs, and convictions, as is so strikingly shown in 
sudden religious conversions and allied mental 
manifestations. Through a similar incubating proc- 
ess, the stored material needed for the solution 
of baffling problems is gathered together and often- 
times assimilated and arranged and formulated as 
an answer to the question. On the other hand, sub- 
conscious processes may be but a hidden part of 
that mechanism which determines our everyday 
judgment and our points of view, our attitudes of 
mind, the meanings of our ideas, and the traits of 
our characters. Antecedent experiences function- 


ing as such processes may determine our fantasies 
and our dreams. Thus functioning as dynamic proc- 
esses the stored residua of the past may provide 
the secrets of our moods, our impulses, our preju- 
dices, our beliefs, and our judgments. 

It remains, however, for future investigation to 
determine the exact mechanism and the relative ex- 
tent to which subconscious processes play their 


Everyday life It will be well at this point to state 
in orderly fashion a few general principles govern- 
ing the organization of complexes or syntheses of 
ideas * which, as we shall see, play an important 
part in normal and abnormal life. Although this 
statement will be little more than descriptive of 
what is common experience it will be helpful in clas- 
sifying and obtaining a useful perspective of the 
phenomena with which we shall deal. 

Now, as every one knows, the elemental ideas 
which make up the experience of any given moment 
tend to become organized (i. e., synthesized and con- 
served) into a system or complex of ideas, linked 
with emotions, feelings and other innate disposi- 
tions, so that when one of the ideas belonging to the 
experience comes to mind the experience as a whole 
is recalled. We may conveniently term such a sys- 
tem when in a state of conservation, an unconscious 

* I am using this word in the general sense of any mental ex- 
perience as in the common phrase, "the association of ideas," and 
not in the restricted sense of Titchener as the equivalent of a percep- 



complex * or neurogram, or system of neurograms. 
If we wish to use psychological terms we may speak 
of it as a complex or synthesis of dormant ideas. 
Although we may formulate this principle as the 
"association of ideas" the formula can have only a 
descriptive significance pertaining to a relation in 
time (and not a causal one) unless there be included 
an unconscious factor by which the association be- 
comes effective in exciting one idea through another 
i. e., through a linking of neural dispositions. We 
cannot conceive of any conscious relation between 
ideas that can possibly induce this effect. It must 
be some unconscious dynamic relation f and be ex- 
plained in terms of neural dispositions. If this be 
so, all ideas are dynamically associated and related 
in a process which does not appear in consciousness 
and which is essential for organization into a com- 
plex. Every system of associated ideas, therefore, 
implies conservation through an organized uncon- 
scious complex. 

Complexes may be very feebly organized in that 
the elemental ideas are weakly conserved or weakly 
associated ; in which case when we try to recall the 
original experience only a part or none of it is re- 

On the other hand, a complex may be strongly 

* I use this word ' ' complex ' ' in the general sense in which it is 
commonly used and not with the specific meaning given to it by the 
Zurich school, which limits it to a system of ideas to which a strong 
affective tone is attached and which, because of its personally dis- 
tressing character, is repressed into the subconscious. 

j- Which may be psychical, although not psychological. 


organized and include a large number of de- 
tails of an experience. This is usually owing to 
the fact that the original experience was accom- 
panied by strong emotional tones, or by marked in- 
terest and attention, or was frequently repeated. 

Emotional Complexes: 1. When the original experi- 
ence was accompanied by an emotion it may be 
regarded as having excited one or more of the emo- 
tional instincts of anger, fear, disgust, etc. The ex- 
citation of the instinct or instincts is in one sense a 
reaction to the ideas of the experience. The instincts 
then become organized about one or more of the 
ideas to form a sentiment (Shand) and the whole 
is incorporated in a complex which then acquires an 
affective character. The impulsive force of the in- 
stinct thereafter largely determines the behavior of 
the complex. (To this we shall return later when 
we consider the instincts.) General observation 
shows that emotional experiences are more likely to 
be conserved and also voluntarily recalled. Given 
such an emotional complex nearly anything asso- 
ciated with some detail of the experience may, by 
the law of association, automatically or involun- 
tarily revive it, or the emotional reaction with a 
greater or less number of its associated memories. 
This tendency seems to be directly proportionate to 
the intensity of the instinct (fear, anger, etc.) incor- 
porated in the complex. Sometimes, it is true, a 
strongly emotional experience, even an experience 
of great moment in an individual's life, is completely 


forgotten, so completely that no associated idea 
avails as a stimulus to awaken it. Usually in all 
such cases the neurograms are isolated, etc., by dis- 
sociation. They still, however, may be strongly or- 
ganized and conserved as an unconscious complex 
and sometimes may be excited as a subconscious 
process by an associated stimulus. In such condi- 
tions it very frequently is found that the dissocia- 
tion is due to conflict between the emotion belonging 
to the complex and another emotional complex. The 
impulsive force of the latter dissociates the former 
complex which then cannot be voluntarily repro- 
duced as memory, nor awakened by any association 
under normal conditions. We have then a condition 
of amnesia and often an hysterical condition. To 
this important phenomenon we shall return when 
we consider the emotions. Passing over these ex- 
ceptional conditions of conflicting emotions (which 
being explained "prove the rule"), it still remains 
true that in everyday life emotional experiences are 
not only more likely to be conserved but to be sub- 
ject to voluntary recall, or awakened involuntarily 
by an associated stimulus. 

If, for instance, we have experienced a railroad 
accident involving exciting incidents, loss of life, 
etc., the words ' * railroad, " " accident, " ' * death, ' ' or 
a sudden crashing sound, or the sight of blood, or 
even riding in a railroad train may recall the ex- 
perience, or at least the prominent features in it. 
The earlier events and those succeeding the accident 
may have passed out of all possibility of voluntary 


recall. To take an instance commonplace enough, but 
which happens to have come within my recent obser- 
vation: a fireman, hurrying to a fire, was injured 
severely by being thrown from a hose-wagon against 
a telegraph-pole with which the wagon collided. He 
narrowly escaped death. Although three years have 
elapsed he still cannot ride on a wagon to a fire 
without the memory of substantially the whole acci- 
dent rising in his mind. When he does so he again 
lives through the accident, including the thoughts 
just previous to the actual collision when realizing 
his situation he was overcome with terror, and he 
again manifests all the organic physical expressions 
of fear, viz., perspiration, tremor, and muscular 
weakness. Here is a well organized and fairly 
limited complex. It is also plainly an imperative 
memory, that is to say, any stimulus-idea associated 
with some element in the complex reproduces the 
experience as memory whether it is wished or not. 
Try as hard as he will he cannot prevent its recur- 
rence. The stimulus that excites such involuntary 
memories may be a spoken word (as in the psycho- 
galvanic and other associative experiments which 
we shall consider in a later lecture), or it may be a 
visual perception of the environment of a person 
or place or it may be a repetition of the circum- 
stances attending the original experience, however 
induced. The phenomenon may also be regarded as 
an automatism or automatic process. As the biologi- 
cal instinct of fear is incorporated in the complex 
it is also a phobia. 


Why our fireman suffered the intense terror that 
he did at the time of the accident, why he experi- 
enced the thoughts which surged into his mind, why 
he suffered this emotional experience, while another 
man going through the same accident suffers no 
more than the physical injury (if any) at the time, 
and why the experience continues to recur as an 
imperative memory are problems which we are not 
considering now. The fact is that he did suffer the 
terror and its agonizing thoughts, and, this being 
the case, their constant recurrence, i. e., the repro- 
duction of the experience, is a memory. And this 
memory consists of a well organized complex of 
ideas, feelings, and physiological accompaniments. 
I emphasize this point because an imperatively re- 
curring mental experience of this sort is a psychosis, 
and, so far as the principle of memory enters into it, 
so far memory becomes a part of the mechanism of 

The reason why the man at the moment of the 
accident experienced the terrorizing thoughts that 
he did, and why he continued to experience them, 
must be sought in associated conserved experiences 
of his past. These experiences were the psycho- 
genetic factors. It would take us too far out of the 
way to consider this problem, which belongs to the 
obsessions, at this time, but, as I have touched upon 
it, I may say in passing that the accident would have 
awakened no sense of terror and no emotional shock 
if a psychological torch had not already been pre- 
pared. This torch was made up of ideas previously 


imbibed from the social environment and made 
ready to be set aflame by the match set to it by the 
accident. In the unconsciousness of this man were 
written in neurographic records the dangers attend- 
ing accidents of this kind and dangers which still 
threatened his present and future. 

Likewise the insistence of the memory can be re- 
lated to a setting of associated thoughts which gave 
meaning to his perception of himself as one affected, 
as he believed, with a serious injury threatening his 
future. His fear was also, therefore, a fear of the 
present and future. Thus not only the experiences 
of the accident itself became organized into a group 
and conserved as a memory, but were organized with 
memories of still other experiences which stood in a 
genetic relation to them. If it were necessary I could 
give from my personal observation numerous ex- 
amples of this mode of organization of complexes 
through emotional experiences and of their repro- 
duction as automatic memories. 

An historical example of complex-organizing of 
this kind is narrated in Tallentyre's delightful life 
of Voltaire. Toward the end of Voltaire's famous 
residence at the court of Frederick the Great, as 
the latter 's guest, one of those pestiferous friends 
who cannot help repeating disagreeable personal 
gossip for our benefit swore to Voltaire to having 
heard Frederick remark, "I shall want him (Vol- 
taire) at the most another year; one squeezes the 
orange and throws away the rind. ' ' From that mo- 


ment a complex of emotional ideas was formed in 
Voltaire's mind, that, do what he would, he could 
not get rid of. He wrote it to his friends, thought 
about it, dreamed about it ; he tried to forget it, but 
to no purpose; it would not "down"; the rind kept 
constantly rising. It brought with it every memory 
of Frederick's character and actions that fitted the 

Voltaire, like many men of genius, was a neuras- 
thenic and his ideas with strong emotional tones 
tended to become strongly organized and acquire 
great force. ' * The orange rind haunts my dreams, ' ' 
he wrote ; ' * I try not to believe it. ... We go to sup 
with the king and are gay enough sometimes; the 
man who fell from the top of a steeple and found the 
fall through the air soft and said, 'Good, provided 
it lasts,' is not a little as I am." The emotional 
complex which so tormented Voltaire that it literally 
became an obsession was a recurring memory. The 
experience had been strongly registered and con- 
served, owing to the emotional tone, but the reason 
why there was so much emotion, and why it ab- 
sorbed so many associated ideas into itself and kept 
recurring would undoubtedly have been found to 
lie, if we could have probed Voltaire's mind, in its 
settings his previous stormy experiences with 
Frederick, his knowledge of Frederick's character, 
his previous apprehensions of what later actually 
occurred, and, most probably, self-reproach for his 
own behavior, the consequences of which he feared 
to face. All this, conserved as neurograms, was set 


ablaze by the remark and furnished not only the 
emotion but the material for the content of the 
complex. These previous experiences, therefore, 
stood in genetic relation to the latter, excited the 
emotional reaction of anger, resentment and fear, 
and prevented the complex from subsiding. The ex- 
citing cause for each recurrence of the complex was, 
of course, some associated stimulus from the envi- 
ronment, or train of thought. 

Another interesting historical example is the fool- 
ish complex which is said to have disturbed the 
pretty Mme. Leclerc (Pauline Bonaparte, who was 
afterward the Princess Borghese). This fascinat- 
ing and beautiful woman was enjoying her triumph 
at a ball. Seated in a little boudoir off the ball- 
room she was entertaining " guests who came to 
admire her and fill her cup to overflowing. There 
was, however, a Mme. de Contades, who had been 
deserted by her own cavaliers at the appearance of 
Pauline. Approaching, now, on the arm of her 
escort, she said in a tone sufficiently loud so that 
every one, including Pauline, could hear perfectly: 
'Mon Dieu, what a misfortune! Oh, what a pity! 
She would be so pretty but for that!' 'But for 
what?' asked her cavalier. All eyes were turned 
upon poor Mme. Leclerc, who thought there must 
be something the matter with her coiffure and began 
to redden and suffocate. 'But do you not see 
what I mean?' persisted Mme. de Contades, with 
the cold cruelty of a jealous woman. 'What a pity! 
Yes, truly, how unfortunate ! Such a really pretty 


head to have such ears ! If I had ears like those I 
would have them cut off. Yes, positively, they are 
like those of a pug dog. You who know her, Mon- 
sieur, advise her to have it done ; it would be a char- 
itable act.' Pauline, more beautiful than ever in 
her blushes, rose, tears blinding her eyes, then sank 
back upon the sofa, hiding her face in her hands, 
sick with mortification and shame. As a matter of 
fact, her ears were not ugly, only a little too flat. 
From that day, however, she always dressed her 
hair over them or concealed them under a bandeau, 
as in the well-known painting of her." * 

Fixed ideas relating to physical blemishes are not 
uncommonly observed as obsessions in psychasthen- 
ics. With our knowledge of such psychical manifes- 
tations it is easy to imagine Pauline's antecedent 
thoughts regarding her own flat ears, and repug- 
nance to this defect in others, her suspicions of un- 
favorable criticisms and of not being admired, etc., 
all organized with the instinct of self-abasement 
(emotion of subjection) and forming a sentiment of 
self-depreciation and shame in her mind. 

2. The outbreak of such automatic memories is 
particularly prone to occur in persons of a particu- 
lar temperament (the apprehensive temperament, in 
which the biological instinct of fear is the paramount 
factor), in fatigue states, and in so-called neurotic 
people neurasthenics, psychasthenics, and hyster- 
ics. In such people the organization of the complex 
probably has been largely a previously subcon- 

* Sisters of Napoleon, by M. Joseph Turquan. 


scions incubating process, as in the phenomenon of 
"sudden religious conversion." Later the sudden 
suggestion or awakening by whatsoever means of 
an idea, which has roots in the antecedent thoughts 
engaged in the subconscious process, readily gives 
occasion for the outbreak of the complex. The lat- 
ter then excites the emotional reaction of anger, hor- 
ror, antipathy, fear, jealousy, etc., which becomes 
incorporated in the complex. When once formed the 
automatism becomes the psychosis. The following 
case is an illustration : 

L. E. W., forty-nine years of age, farmer and 
lawyer by occupation, a man of strenuous disposi- 
tion, broke down under stress and strain with severe 
but common symptoms of mental and physical 
fatigue modified and exaggerated by apprehensions 
of incurable illness. At the end of a year there 
developed scruples and jealous suspicions of his 
wife's chastity, not persistent but recurring from 
time to time in attacks, and always awakened by 
a suggestion of some kind an associated idea, a 
remark heard, an act of some kind on the part of 
the wife, etc. Between the attacks he was entirely 
free from such thoughts, but during the attack, 
which came on with the usual suddenness, these 
thoughts always the same doubts, suspicions, rea- 
sonings, jealousy, and fear were dominating, im- 
perative, and painful. An open-minded, frank, in- 
telligent man he fully realized that his scruples were 
entirely unfounded and even characterized them as 


"delusions." It was interesting, so clear was he in 
this respect, to hear him discuss his attacks between 
times with his wife, as if they were recurrent appen- 
dicitis. The attacks would pass off in a short time 
after discussing his scruples with his wife, and then 
he became natural again ; they involved great suffer- 
ing and he feared, as people thus afflicted so often 
do, that they spelled impending insanity. And yet 
it was easy to determine that they were only impera- 
tive recurrent memories, conserved complexes 
emerging from the unconscious. He had been mar- 
ried twenty-two years. He was of a jealous nature, 
and before marriage it annoyed him to think that his 
wife had been courted by other men, that she wrote 
them letters, etc. He began to think of her as a 
flirt, that she was going to jilt him, and to have 
misgivings of her character. He grew jealous and 
suspicions of possible unchastity worried him, but 
reasoning with himself he would say, ' ' 0, pshaw ! it 
is an abominable suspicion," "an hallucination," 
and put the thought out of his mind, as he said. 
But we know he really put the thought into his 
mind to be conserved in the unconscious, as a com- 
plex of chastity scruples, and there undergo incuba- 
tion and further development. Later he had had 
spells of jealousy during his married life true 
imperative ideas until he broke down in health, and 
then, as he himself expressed it, "the devil got the 
upper hand and said, 'I've got you now.' " 

The devil was the complex organized twenty-two 


years previously with the emotion of jealousy * cen- 
tered about the idea of his wife and the whole neu- 
rographically conserved. The impulsive force of 
the emotion was constantly striving to awaken and 
give expression to the unconscious complex. He 
was able to hold it in check, to repress it, by the 
conflicting force of other sentiments until these be- 
came weakened by the development of the psychas- 
thenic state. Then these latter controlling elements 
of personality were repressed in turn whenever the 
more powerful jealousy complex was awakened. 
The whole mechanism was undoubtedly more com- 
plicated than this, in that the jealousy complex had 
a setting in certain unsophisticated and puritanical 
ideas of conduct (brought to light in the analysis) 
which gave a peculiar meaning (for him) to his 
wife's actions. So long as this setting persisted it 
would be next to impossible to modify the jealousy 

Whatever the mechanism, ideas with strong 
emotional tones (particularly fear, anger, jealousy, 
and disgust), no matter how absurd or repellent, or 
unjustified, and whether acceptable or unacceptable, 
tend to become organized and welded into a com- 
plex which is thereby conserved. The impulsive 
force of the incorporated emotion tends to awaken 
and give expression to the complex whenever stimu- 
lated. The recurrence of such an organized complex 

* McDougall (Social Psychology) regards jealousy as a complex 
emotional state iu which anger, tender emotion, and other innate 
dispositions are factors. 


so far as it is reproduction is, of course, in principle, 
memory, and an imperative memory or fixed idea. 
Whether the complex shall be awakened as such a 
recurrent memory, or shall function as a dissociated 
subconscious process, producing other disturbances, 
or remain quiescent in the unconscious, depends 
upon other factors which we need not now consider. 

3. Clinically the periodic recurrence of such com- 
plexes is an obsession. An obsession as met with is 
most likely to be characterized by fear not only be- 
cause the instinct of fear is the most painful of the 
emotions, but for another reason. Although biologi- 
cally fear is useful as a defense for the preservation 
of the individual, when perverted by useless associa- 
tions it becomes harmful, in that it is not only pain- 
ful but prevents the adjustment of the individual to 
his environment and thereby takes on a pathological 
taint. Complexes with other emotions are less likely 
to be harmful and therefore less frequently apply 
for relief. Yet imperative ideas with jealousy, 
anger, hatred, love, disgust, etc., centered about an 
object are exceedingly common though their pos- 
sessors less often resort to a physician. 

From another point of view abnormal complexes, 
represented by these examples, may be regarded as 
"association psychoses." Sometimes the physio- 
logical bodily accompaniments form the greater part 
of the complex which is for the most part made up 
of physiological disturbances (vasomotor, cardiac, 
gastric, respiratory, secretory, muscular, etc.) ; al- 


most pure association neuroses they then become. 
Neuroses of this kind we shall consider in a later 

Sometimes, particularly in people of intensive 
temperaments, " imperative ideas" are formed by 
gradual evolution in consequence of the mind con- 
stantly dwelling with emotional intensity on certain 
phases of thought i. e., through repetition. This 
we see in the development of religious complexes or 
faiths, but it is also obtrusive in other fields of 
thought, political, industrial, social, etc. Hence the 
evolution of fanatics. A. D. is a man of strong 
feeling and great imagination. As a child he was 
a constant witness of quarrels between his father 
and .mother. His mind dwelt upon these experi- 
ences and there developed in him at an early date 
strong aversions toward marriage. Aversion 
means the instinct of repulsion or disgust. This 
instinct therefore became systematized with the 
idea of marriage as its object forming an intense 
sentiment of aversion. Even as a boy the aversion 
impelled him to determine never to marry and later 
he formed strong theoretical anti-matrimonial views 
which became almost a religion. For years he 
talked about his views, argued and preached about 
them like a fanatic to his friends. His aversion 
rose in successful conflict against every temptation 
to matrimony and his anti-matrimonial complex be- 
came an obsession. The consequences were what 
might have been expected when, later in life, he al- 

* Not included in this volume. 


lowed himself in a moment of sympathetic weakness 
and owing to compromising situations to slip within 
the matrimonial noose. The complex then, like that 
of Voltaire's orange rind, would not down at his 
own bidding, or at that of his devoted spouse for 
whom he had, in other respects, a strong affection 
mingled with personal admiration. The resulting 
situation can be imagined. 

5. Hysterical attacks. It is of practical impor- 
tance to note another part which emotional com- 
plexes may play in psychopathology. In certain 
pathological conditions in which there is limita- 
tion of the field of consciousness (involving a disap- 
pearance of a large part of the normal mental life) 
often all that persists of consciousness and repre- 
sents the personal self is the obsessing complex 
which previously tormented the patient. In hysteri- 
cal crises, psycholeptic attacks, trance, and certain 
types of epilepsy this is peculiarly the case. In these 
states the content of consciousness consists almost 
wholly, or at least largely, of a recurrent memory 
of an experience which originated in the normal life 
and which has been conserved in the unconscious. 
Here the obsessing ideas, which at one time were 
voluntarily entertained by the subject, or, as fre- 
quently happens, originated in some emotional ex- 
perience, automatically recur, while the remainder 
of the conscious life becomes dissociated and sup- 
pressed ; in other words the obsessing ideas emerge 
out of the unconscious (neurograms) and became 


substantially the whole conscious field. In hysteri- 
cal attacks, particularly, the complex is accompanied 
by the same strong emotional tone such as fear, 
anxiety, jealousy, or anger which belonged to the 
original experience. In such pathological subjects, 
whenever the complex is awakened, the remainder 
of the conscious field tends to become dissociated 
and the psychological state to be reproduced. 
Hence, in such states, the ideas repeat themselves 
over and over again with the recurrence of the at- 
tacks. The subject lives over again as in a dream 
the original attack, which is a stereotyped revivifi- 
cation of the original experience. This peculiarity 
of the mental condition in attacks has been described 
by various writers. The dream of the hystero-epi- 
leptic is substantially always the same. Janet has 
accurately described the origin and role of the fixed 
ideas in the hysterical attack. ''These ideas," he 
says, "aje not conceived, invented at the moment; 
they formulate themselves; they are only repeti- 
tions. Thus, the most important of the hallucina- 
tions which harassed Marcelle during her cloud- 
attack was but the exact reproduction of a scene 
which had taken place the previous year. The fixed 
ideas of dying, of not eating, are the reproduction 
of certain desperate resolutions taken some years 
ago. Formerly these ideas had some sense, were 
more or less well connected with a motive. A desper- 
ate love affair had been the cause of her attempts 
at suicide ; she refused to eat in order to let herself 
die of hunger, etc. To-day these ideas are again 


reproduced, but without connection and without rea- 
son. She has, we convinced ourselves, completely 
forgotten her old despair, and has not the least 
wish to die. The idea of suicide comes to her to-day 
without any relation to her present situation, and 
she is in despair at the idea of this suicide which 
imposes itself on her as a relic of her past, so to 
say. She does not know why she refuses to eat; 
the ideas of suicide and refusal of food are disso- 
ciated. The one exists without the other. At one 
moment she hears the voice, 'Do not eat,' and yet 
she has no thought of death; at another, she thinks 
of killing herself and yet she accepts nourishment. 
We always find in fixed ideas this characteristic of 
automatic repetition of the past without " connec- 
tion, without actual logic. ' ' * 

When certain emotional and distressing ideas of 
wounded love are awakened in M. C., an hysteric, 
she is thrown into an hysterical attack in which 
these ideas recur over and over again and dominate 
consciousness. In P. M., another hysteric, ideas of 
loneliness and jealousy, which had previously been 
entertained but which had been thrust out of her 
mind again and again in a conscientious struggle 
with her moral nature, recur, emerge from the un- 
conscious and dominate the field of consciousness 
in each hysterical attack which they induce. 

6. In the psycholeptic, a variant of the hysteric, the 
same sensations, motor phenomena, and hallucina- 

* Aboulie et idees fixes, Kevue philosophique, 1891, i., p. 279. 
Mental State of Hystericals, p. 408. 


tions, and the same bizarre ideas whatever the 
symptomatic phenomena characterize each attack. 
This could be shown experimentally in M 1.* 

Of course the degree of dissociation of conscious- 
ness, the content of the fixed idea, and the physio- 
logical manifestations vary in individual cases, ac- 
cording to the nature of the case. Sometimes the 
disturbance of consciousness is slight and the physi- 
ological manifestations predominant. 

From a consideration of all the facts we see that 
a conserved complex associated with strong feeling 
tones may play a disastrous and pathological part 
in certain individuals. 

It is well to bear in mind here, as before, that in 
these statements we are only giving a literal de- 
scription of the psychological events without at- 
tempt to form any theory of the mechanism of the 
processes, or the antecedent psychogenetic factors 
which lead to the development of the particular fixed 
ideas or complexes. About this there may be and is 
a difference of view. 

Systematized Complexes. In contrast with the lim- 
ited group of fixed ideas, organized with one or 
more emotions (i. e., instincts) I have been describ- 
ing, are the large systems of complexes or associated 
experiences which become organized and fairly dis- 
tinctly differentiated in the course of the develop- 
ment of every one *s personality. In many, at least, 
of these systems there will be found a predominant 

*P. 33. 


emotion and certain instinctive tendencies, and a 
predominant feeling tone of pleasure or pain, of 
exaltation or depression, etc. It is quite possible 
that careful investigation would disclose that it is 
this conflicting affective force which is responsible 
for the differentiation of one system from another 
with opposing affects and tendencies. The differen- 
tiation of such systematized complexes is of con- 
siderable practical importance for normal and ab- 
normal personality. Among such systems may here 
be mentioned those which are related to certain sub- 
jects or departments of human experience, or are 
related in time, or to certain dispositions or moods 
of the individual. The first may be called subject 
systems, the second chronological systems, and the 
last mood systems. 

1. Subject systems: I find myself interested, for 
instance, in several fields of human knowledge; (a) 
abnormal psychology; (b) public franchises; (c) 
yachting; (d) local politics; (e) business affairs. 
To each of these I give a large amount of thought, 
accumulate many data belonging to each, and de- 
vote a considerable amount of active work to carry- 
ing into effect my ideas in each field. Five large 
systems are thus formed, each consisting of facts, 
opinions, memories, experiences, etc., distinct from 
those belonging to the others. To each there is an 
emotion and a feeling tone which have more or less 
distinctive qualities; these coming from the intel- 
lectual interest of abnormal psychology differing 


qualitatively from those of the "joy of battle" ex- 
cited by a public contest with a railroad corporation 
or gas company, as it does from that of the exhilar- 
ating sport of a yacht race, or from the annoying 
and rather depressing care of business interests; 
and so on. 

These five subject-complexes do not form inde- 
pendent automatisms or isolated systems which may 
intrude themselves in any conscious field, but com- 
prise large associations, memories of experiences in 
a special field of thought. Within that field the ideas 
of the system are no more strongly organized than 
are ideas in general; but it can be recognized that 
the system as a whole with its affective tones is 
fairly well delimited from the other complexes of 
other spheres of thought. It is difficult, for certain 
individuals at least, to introduce the associations 
of one subject-complex into the focus of attention so 
long as another is invested with personal interest 
and occupies the attention of consciousness. They 
find it difficult to switch * their minds from one sub- 
ject to another and back again. On the other hand, 
it is said of Napoleon that he had all the subjects of 
his experiences arranged in drawers of his mind, 
and that he could open each drawer at will, take out 

* The switching process is an interesting problem in itself. (Cf. 
Max Levy-Suhl: Ueber Einstellungsvorgange in normalen und anor- 
malen Seelenzustanden. Zeitschrift fiir Psychotherapie und Medi- 
zinishe Psychologic, Bd. 11, Hft. 3, 1910.) An example is the well- 
known psychological diagram which may be perceived at one moment 
as a flight of steps and at another as an overhanging wall, according 
as which perception of the same line is switched in. 


any subject he wished, and shut it up again as he 
wished. Ability of this kind involves remarkable 
control over the mind and is not given to all. 

I have frequently made observations like the fol- 
lowing on myself, showing the organization and dif- 
ferentiation of systems: I collect the various data 
belonging to one of the problems discussed in these 
lectures. I arrange all in an orderly fashion in my 
mind, work out the logical relations and the conclu- 
sions to which they lead, as well as their relations to 
other data and problems. The whole is then 
schematically arranged on paper to await proper 
elaboration the next morning, when it will be written 
out on waking, the preliminary mental arrange- 
ment having been done at night. A large complex 
has been created, the various details of which are 
luminously clear and the sequence of the ideas viv- 
idly conceived, the conclusions definite. There is, 
further, an affective tone of joy and exaltation which 
is apt to accompany the accomplishment of an intel- 
lectual problem and which produces a feeling of 
increased energy. 

The next morning, as I awake and gradually re- 
turn to full consciousness, another and very differ- 
ent kind of complex almost exclusively fills my mind, 
owing probably to the fatigue following the previous 
night's work. All sorts of gloomy thoughts, mem- 
ories of experiences better forgotten, course through 
the mind; and entirely different emotions (in- 
stincts), and a strong feeling of depression domi- 
nate the mental panorama. The whole ideas, emo- 


tions, and feelings makes a complex which has been 
experienced over and over again, and is recognized 
as such. The same old ideas, emotions, thoughts, 
and memories, conserved as neurograms, repeat 
themselves almost in stereotyped fashion. The men- 
tal complex has completely changed and the ex- 
uberant energy of the night before has given place 
to listless inertia. 

All this is commonplace enough, merely morning 
depression you will say, due to fatigue ; and so it is. 
But mark the sequel. 

I now remember that I have a task to perform 
and before rising take paper and pencil, lying 
ready at my side, to write out the theme previously 
arranged in skeleton. But to my surprise I find that 
it cannot be recalled. To be sure, I can, by effort 
of will, recall individual facts, but the facts have 
lost their associations and meaning, they remain 
comparatively isolated in memory; all their corre- 
lated ramifications, their associated ideas and rela- 
tions, which the night before stood out in relief and 
crowded into consciousness, have gone. The emo- 
tional tone and impulses which energized the 
thoughts have also disappeared, and with them the 
system of complexes as a whole. It has been disso- 
ciated, inhibited, repressed, and there is amnesia for 
it. With the fatigue depression a new system, with 
different emotions and feelings, now dominates the 
mind and the desired system cannot be switched in. 

This amnesia is not one of conservation but one 
of reproduction ; for later in the day the fatigue and 


depression disappear, a new energizing emotional 
tone arises and the sought-for system is switched in 
and returns in its entirety. With this change the de- 
pression system in turn disappears, and now it is 
difficult to recall it, excepting that as an intellectual 
fact I remember that such thoughts occupied my 
mind in the early morning hours. The two systems 
as a whole are distinctly differentiated from and 
alternate with one another. 

All this is only expressing in somewhat technical 
language a common experience, as most people, I 
suppose, have such alternations of complexes. The 
facts are trite enough; but, because they are of 
common experience, it is well to formulate them 
and so, as far as possible, give precision to our con- 
ception of the psychological relations which have a 
distinct bearing on the principles of dissociated per- 
sonality and other psychoses, on character and psy- 
cho-therapeutics. When, at a later time, we take up 
for study the subject of dissociated personality * 
we shall find that the dissociation of consciousness 
sometimes takes its lines of cleavage between sys- 
tems of complexes of this kind.f And, above all, the 
formation of complexes is the foundation stone of 

The methods of education and therapeutic sugges- 
tion are variants of this mode of organizing mental 

* Lectures not included in this volume. 

f In the case of Miss B., for example, Sally had absolute amnesia 
for certain systems of subject-complexes (Latin, French, etc.) pos- 
sessed by the other personalities. 


processes. Both, in principle, are substantially the 
same, differing only in detail. They depend for 
their effect upon the implantation in the mind of 
ideational complexes organized by repetition, or by 
the impulsive force of their affective tones, or both. 
Every form of education necessarily involves the 
artificial formation of such complexes, whether in a 
pedagogical, religious, ethical, scientific, social, or 
professional field. So in psychotherapy by artfully 
directed suggestion, or education in the narrower 
sense, complexes may be similarly formed and or- 
ganized. New points of view and "sentiments" 
may be inculcated, useful emotions and feelings ex- 
cited, and the personality correspondingly modified. 
Eoughly speaking, this is accomplished by suggest- 
ing ideas that will form settings (associations) that 
give new and desired meanings to previously harm- 
ful ideas ; and these ideas, as well as any others we 
desire to implant in the mind, are organized by sug- 
gestion with emotions (instincts) of a useful, pleas- 
urable, and exalting kind to form desirable senti- 
ments, and to carry the ideas to fulfilment. Thus 
sentiments of right, or of ambition, or of sympathy, 
or of altruism, or of disinterestedness in self are 
awakened ; and, with all this, opposing emotions are 
aroused to conflict with and repress the distressing 
ones, and the whole welded into a complex which 
becomes conserved neurographically and thereby a 
part of the personality. 

Under ordinary conditions of every-day mental 
life social suggestion acts like therapeutic sugges- 


tion. But the suggestions of every-day life are so 
subtle and insidious that they are scarcely con- 
sciously recognized. 

2. Chronological systems (using complex in a 
rather extended sense) are those which embrace the 
experiences of certain epochs of our lives rather 
than the subject material included in them. In a 
general way events as they are successively experi- 
enced become associated together, and with other 
elements of personality, so that the later recollection 
of one event in the chain of an epoch recalls succes- 
sively the others. Conversely a break in the chain 
of memory may occur at any point and the chain 
only be picked up at a more distant date, leaving be- 
tween, as a hiatus, an epoch for which there is am- 
nesia of reproduction. This normally common am- 
nesia affords confirmatory evidence of the associa- 
tive relation of successive events. Involving as it 
does the unimportant and unemotional experiences 
as well as the important and emotional though the 
former may be as well conserved as the latter it 
is not easy to understand. The principle, however, 
plays an important part in abnormal amnesia par- 
ticularly, but not necessarily, where there is a dis- 
sociation of personality. 

The epoch may be of a few hours, or it may be of 
days, of months, or years. The simplest example is 
the frequent amnesia for the few hours preceding 
a physical injury to the head resulting in temporary 
unconsciousness. In other cases it is the result of 


extensive dissociation effected by suggestion (e. g., 
in hypnosis), or psychical trauma including therein 
emotional conflicts. Thus, to cite an experimental 
example: Miss B. is troubled by a distressing 
memory which constantly recurs to her mind during 
the twenty-four hours. To relieve her I suggest 
that she will completely forget the original experi- 
ence. To my surprise, though the suggestion is lim- 
ited to the experience alone, the whole twenty-four 
hours are completely wiped out of her memory. She 
cannot recall a single incident of that day. The 
whole epoch which had associations with the memory 
is dissociated. 

When the epochal amnesia follows psychical 
trauma the condition of memory is apt to present 
the following peculiarity and the personality may be 
altered. When the epoch is the immediate past, i. e., 
includes the experiences extending from a certain 
past date up to the present, it sometimes happens 
that memory reverts to that past date. That is to 
say, the personality goes back to the period last re- 
membered in which he believes, for the moment, he 
is still living, the memory of the succeeding last 
epoch being dissociated from the personal conscious- 
ness. Under such conditions there is something 
more than amnesia. The neurographic residua of 
the remembered epoch are revived and its experi- 
ences remembered as if they had just been lived. 
There is not only a dissociation of the memories of 
one epoch, but a resurrection of the conserved and 
maybe forgotten experiences of a preceding one. 


The synthesis of these memories restores again the 
personal consciousness of that period. Before the 
cleavage took place the recollection of the resurrec- 
ted epoch may have been very incomplete and vague ; 
afterward the new personality remembers it as if 
just experienced. The personality is, however, 
in other respects generally (always!) something dif- 
ferent from the personality of that particular epoch. 
The dissociation is apt to involve a certain number 
of acquired traits and certain innate dispositions 
and instincts, while other outlived and repressed 
traits and innate dispositions and instincts are apt 
to be reawakened and synthesized into an altered ab- 
normal personality. But this is another story that 
does not concern us now. 

As an example of epochal amnesia I may cite Mrs. 

J , who, after dissociation occurs, has amnesia 

for all the events of several years succeeding a cer- 
tain hour of a certain day when a psychical trauma 
(shock) occurred. She thinks she is living on that 
day and remembers in great detail its events as if 
they had just occurred. 

Miss B. reverts on one occasion to a day, six years 
back, when she received a psychical shock; the com- 
plexes of her personality of that day are revived as 
if just lived, all the succeeding years being forgot- 
ten ; on another occasion she reverts to a day when 
she was living in another city seven or eight years 

M 1 reverts to an early period of his life when 


he was living in Eussia, and forgets all since includ- 
ing even his knowledge of English. 

B. C. A. on several occasions reverts to different 
epochs of her life with complete amnesia for all 
'after events. On each occasion she takes up the 
thread of her mental life as if living in the past, and 
recites the events as if just lived. 

Likewise, after a subject reverts from the abnor- 
mal to the normal state, after a short or long condi- 
tion of altered personality, there may be a complete 
amnesia for the abnormal epoch, and although now 
normal he thinks it the same day on which dissocia- 
tion occurred. 

Thus, Miss 0. develops a condition of dissociated 
personality lasting six months during which, as it 
unfortunately happens, she falls in love with a 
man whom she had never known in her normal state. 
At the end of this period she "wakes up" with a 
complete loss of memory for the phase of altered 
personality and, therefore, to find that her fiance is 
apparently a stranger to her ( !). 

The same amnesia in the normal state for pro- 
longed epochs in which the personality was altered 
was conspicuous in the case of Miss B. In William 
James' often-cited case of Ansel Bourne and Dr. 
E. E. Mayer's case of Chas. W. the subjects returned 
to their normal states with complete amnesia for the 
abnormal epochs of two months and seventeen years 

After all, the common amnesia for the hypnotic 
state after waking is the same phenomenon. 


Such observations show the possible systematiza- 
tion of epoch complexes, although the determining 
conditions are not as yet understood. 

3. Disposition or Mood systems. Among the 
loosely organized complexes in many individuals, 
and possibly in all of us, there are certain disposi- 
tions toward views of life which represent natural 
inclinations, desires, and modes of activity, which, 
for one reason or another, we tend to suppress or 
are unable to give full play to. Many individuals, 
for example, are compelled by the exactions of their 
duties and responsibilities to lead serious lives, to 
devote themselves to pursuits which demand all 
their energies and thought and which, therefore, 
do not permit of indulgence in the lighter enjoy- 
ments of life ; and yet they may have a natural in- 
clination to partake of the pleasures which innately 
appeal to all mankind and which many actually pur- 
sue ; in other words, to yield to the impulsive force 
of the innate disposition, or instinct, of play. But 
these desires are repressed. Nevertheless the long- 
ing for these pleasures, under the impulses of this 
instinct, recurs from time to time. The mind dwells 
on them, the imagination is excited and weaves a 
fabric of pictures, sentiments, thoughts, and emo- 
tions the whole of which thus becomes organized into 
a systematized complex. 

There may be a conflict, a rebellion and " kicking 
against the pricks" and, thereby, a liberation of 
emotional force of the instinct, impressing, on the 


one hand, a stronger organization of the whole 
process, and, on the other, repressing all conflicting 
desires. Or, the converse of this may hold and a 
person who devotes his life to the lighter enjoyments 
may have aspirations and longings for the more 
serious pursuits, and in this respect the imagination 
may similarly build up a complex which may simi- 
larly express itself. The recurrence of such com- 
plexes is one form of what we call a "mood" which 
has a distinctively emotional tone of its own derived 
from the instincts and sentiments which are domi- 
nant. Such a "disposition" system is often spoken 
of as "a side to one's character/' to which a person 
may from time to time give play. Thus a person is 
said to have "many sides to his character," and ex- 
hibits certain alternations of personality which may 
be regarded as normal prototypes of those which 
occur as abnormal states. 

It may be interesting to note in passing that the 
well-known characteristics of people of a certain 
temperament, in consequence of which they can pur- 
sue their respective vocations only when they are 
"in the mood for it," can be referred to this prin- 
ciple of complex formations and dissociation of rival 
systems. Literary persons, musicians, and artists 
in whom "feeling" is apt to be cultivated to a de- 
gree of self -pampering are conspicuous in this class. 
The ideas pertaining to the development of their 
craft form mixed subject and mood complexes which 
tend to have strong emotional and feeling tones. 
When some other affective tone is substituted, or- 


ganized within a conflicting complex, it is difficult 
for such persons to revive the subject complex be- 
longing to the piece of work in hand and necessary 
for its prosecution. "The ideas will not come," be- 
cause the whole subject complex which supplies the 
material with which the imagination is to work has 
been dissociated and replaced by some other. Cer- 
tain elements in the complex can be revived piece- 
meal, as it were, but the complex will not develop in 
mass with the emotional driving energy which be- 
longs to it. Not having their complexes and affects 
under voluntary control it is necessary for such per- 
sons to wait until, from an alteration in the coenes- 
thesis or for some other reason, an alteration in 
the "feeling" has taken place with a revival of the 
right complex in mass. 

No more exquisite illustration of these "dispo- 
sition complexes" could be found than in the per- 
sonality of William Sharp. Sharp 's title to literary 
fame very largely rests upon the writings which he 
gave to the world under the feminine name of Fiona 
Macleod. The identity of the author was concealed 
from the world until his death, and it is still a com- 
mon belief that this concealment and the assumption 
of the feminine pseudonym were nothing more than 
a literary hoax. Nothing could be farther from the 
truth. There were two William Sharps; by which 
I mean, of course, there were two very strongly or- 
ganized and sharply cut sides to his character. 
Each had its points of view, its complexes of ideas, 


its imaginings, and, above all, its creative tenden- 
cies and feeling tones. The one side the one chris- 
tened William Sharp was the bread and butter 
earner, the relatively practical man who came in 
contact with the world literary critic, "biographer, 
essay and novel writer as well as poet" the experi- 
enced side which was obliged to correct its imag- 
ination by constant comparison with reality. The 
other side Fiona Macleod was the so-called inner 
man ; what he himself called his ' ' true inward self. ' ' 
As Fiona he lived in his imagination and dreamed. 
The development of this side of his personality be- 
gan while, as he said, "I was still a child." "He 
found," his biographer writes,* "as have other im- 
aginative, psychic children, that he had an inner life, 
a curious power of visions unshared by any one 
about him, so that what he related was usually dis- 
credited; but the psychic side of his nature was too 
intimate a part of his mind to be killed by misun- 
derstanding. He learned to shut it away to keep 
it as a thing apart a mystery of his own, a mystery 
to himself." 

This inner life, as time went on, became a mood 
which he fostered and developed and in which he 
built up great complexes of fancies, points of view, 
and emotions, which, when the other side of his char- 
acter came uppermost, remained neurographically 
conserved and dormant in the unconscious. The 
Fiona complexes he distinctly felt to be feminine in 
type so that when he came to give expression to 

* William Sharp, A Memoir, by Elizabeth A. Sharp. 


them, as lie felt he must, he concealed this side of 
his character under a feminine pseudonym. "My 
truest self," he wrote, "the self who is below all 
other selves, and my most intimate life, and joys, 
and sufferings, thoughts, emotions, and dreams must 
find expression, yet I cannot save in this hidden 
way. ' ' 

"From time to time the emotional, the more inti- 
mate self, would sweep aside all conscious control; 
a dream, a sudden inner vision, an idea that had lain 
dormant in what he called * the mind behind the 
mind' would suddenly visualize itself and blot out 
everything else from his consciousness, and under 
such impulse he would write at great speed, hardly 
aware of what, or how, he wrote, so absorbed was he 
in the vision with which for the moment he was iden- 

"All my work," he said, "is so intimately 
wrought with my own experiences that I cannot tell 
you about Pharais, etc., without telling you my 
whole life. ' ' 

"William Sharp himself realized the two moods or 
"sides," which became in time developed into two 
distinct personalities. These he distinctly recog- 
nized, although there was no amnesia. "Rightly or 
wrongly," he wrote, "I am conscious of something 
to be done by one side of me, by one-half of me, by 
the true inward mind as I believe (apart from the 
overwhelmingly felt mystery of a dual mind, and a 
reminiscent life, and a woman's life and nature 
within concurring with and oftenest dominating the 


other) . . . ' This dual personality was so 
strongly realized by him that on his birthdays he 
wrote letters to himself as Fiona signed " Will," and 
vice versa. 

I have dwelt upon this historical example of the 
exaggerated development of mood complexes be- 
cause, while well within the limits of normal life, it 
brings home to us the recognition of psychological 
facts which we all, more or less, have in common. 
But, more important than this, in certain abnormal 
conditions where the dissociation between systems 
of complexes becomes more exaggerated, mood, sub- 
ject, chronological and other complexes, linked as 
each is with its own characteristic emotions and feel- 
ings instincts and other innate dispositions play a 
paramount part and dominate the personality. In 
the hysterical personality, in particular, there is 
more or less complete reversion to or a subconscious 
awakening of one or other such complex. Where 
the hysterical dissociation becomes so extreme as 
to eventuate in amnesia in one state for another the 
different systems of complexes are easily recognized 
as so many phases of multiple personality. But in 
so identifying the ideational content of phases of 
personality it should not be overlooked that inten- 
sive studies of multiple personality disclose the fact 
that the dissociation of one phase for another car- 
ries with it certain of the instincts innate in every 
organism. What I mean to say is, observation of 
psychopathological states has shown that instincts, 


such as play, hunger, anger, fear, love, disgust, the 
sexual instincts, etc., may be dissociated separately 
or in conjunction with complexes of ideas. In every 
case of multiple personality that I have had the op- 
portunity to study each phase has been shorn of 
one or more of these inborn psycho-physiological 
dispositions and I believe this obtains in every true 
case. As a result certain sentiments and traits are 
lost while those that are retained stamp an individu- 
ality upon the phase. And as the conative forces of 
the retained instincts are not balanced and checked 
by the dissociated opposing instincts, the sentiments 
which they form and the emotional reactions to 
which they give rise stand out as dominating traits. 
Thus one phase may be characterized by pugnacity, 
self-assertion, and elation; another by submission, 
fear and tender feeling; and so on. 

This is not the place to enter into an explanation 
of dissociated personality, but I may point out, in 
anticipation of a deeper discussion of the subject, 
that, in accordance with these two principles, in such 
conditions we sometimes find that disposition and 
other complexes conserved in the unconscious come 
to the surface and displace or substitute themselves 
for the other complexes which dominate a personal- 
ity. A complex or system of complexes that is only 
a mood or a "side of the character" of a normal in- 
dividual, may in conditions of dissociation become 
the main complex and chief characteristic of the new 
personality. In Miss B., for instance, the personal- 
ity known as BI was made up almost entirely of the 


religious and ethical ideas with corresponding in- 
stincts which formed one side of the original self. 
In the personality known as Sally we had for the 
most part the chronological and mood complexes of 
youth representing the enjoyment of youthful pleas- 
ures and sports, the freedom from conventionalities 
and artificial restraints generally imposed by duties 
and responsibilities ; she was a resurrection of child 
life. In BIV the complex represented the ambitions 
and activities of practical life. In Miss B., as a 
whole, normal, without disintegration, it was easy to 
recognize all three dispositions as sides of her char- 
acter, though each was kept ordinarily within proper 
bounds by the conflicting influence of the others. It 
was only necessary to put her in an environment 
which encouraged one or the other side, to associate 
her with people who strongly suggested one or the 
other of her own characteristics, whether religious, 
social, pleasure-loving, or intellectual, to see the 
characteristics of BI, Sally, or BIV stand out in 
relief as the predominant personality. Then we had 
the alternating play of these different sides of her 

Likewise in B. C. A. In each of the personalities, 
B and A, similar disposition complexes could be 
recognized each corresponding to a side of the char- 
acter of the original personality C. In A were rep- 
resented the complexes formed by ideas of duty, re- 
sponsibility, and moral scruples; in B were repre- 
sented the complexes formed by the longing for fun 
and the amusements which life offered. When the 


cleavage of personality took place it was between 
these two complexes, just as it was in Miss B. be- 
tween the several complexes above described. This 
is well brought out in the respective autobiographies 
of B * and Sally f in these two cases. In many cases 
of hysteria in which dissociation of personality can 
be recognized the same phenomenon is often mani- 
fest. A careful study will reveal it also, I believe, 
in other cases of multiple personality, although, of 
course, as we have seen, the dissociation may be 
along other lines ; that is, between other complexes 
than those of disposition. 

This principle of the conservation, as neurograms 
in the unconscious, of complexes representing 
"sides" to one's character, gives a new meaning to 
the saying In vino veritas. In alcoholic and other 
forms of intoxication there results a loss of inhibi- 
tion, of self-control, and the disposition complexes, 
which have been repressed or concealed by the in- 
dividual as a matter of social defense, arise out of 
the unconscious, and, for the time being, become the 
dominant mood or phase of personality. When 
these complexes represent the true inner life and 
nature of the individual, freed from the repressing 
protection of expediency, we can then truly say ' * In 
vino veritas." 

Complexes organized in hypnotic and other dissociated 
conditions 1. We have been speaking thus far of 

* My Life as a Dissociated Personality, Journal of Abnormal 
Psychology, October-November, 1908, December-January, 1909. 
t The Dissociation, Chapter XXIII. 


complexes formed in the course of every-day life and 
which take part in the composition of the normal 
personality. But it is obvious that a complex may 
be organized in any condition of personality so long 
as we are dealing with consciousness, however lim- 
ited or disturbed. Thus in artificial states, like hyp- 
nosis and the subconscious process which produces 
automatic writing, ideas may be synthesized into 
systems as well as in normal waking life. This is 
exemplified by the fact that in hypnosis the mem- 
ories of past hypnotic experiences are conserved and 
form systems of memories dissociated from the 
memories of waking life. When the subject regains 
the normal condition of the personal self, though 
there may be amnesia for the hypnotic experiences 
their neurograms remain conserved to the same ex- 
tent and in the same fashion as do those of the wak- 
ing life. Consequently on the return to the hyp- 
notic state the memories of previous hypnotic ex- 
periences are recovered. 

This systematization of hypnotic experiences is 
easily recognized in those cases where several dif- 
ferent hypnotic states can be obtained in the same 
individual. Each state has its own system of memor- 
ies differing from, and with amnesia for, those of the 
others. Each system also has its own feeling tones, 
one system, for example, having a tone of elation, 
another, of depression, etc. The systematization is 
still more accentuated in cases like the one men- 
tioned in the second lecture (p. 19), where the sub- 
ject goes into a hypnotic state resembling a trance, 


and lives in an ideal world, peopled by imaginary 
persons, and in an imaginary environment, perhaps 
a spirit world or another planet. The content of 
consciousness consists of fabrications which make 
up a fancied life. In the instance I have mentioned 
the subject imagined she was living in a world of 
spirits; in Flournoy's classical case, Mile Helene 
Smith imagined she was an inhabitant of the planet 
Mars, and spoke a fabricated language. In these 
states the same systems of ideas invariably ap- 

2. In consequence of this principle of systematiza- 
tion it is in our power by educational suggestion in 
hypnosis to organize mental processes and build com- 
plexes of the same kind and in the same way as when 
the subject is awake. In fact, it is more readily 
done, inasmuch as in hypnosis the critical judg- 
ment and reflection tend to be suspended. The sug- 
gested ideas are accepted and education more easily 
accomplished. While in hypnosis the individual 
may thus be made to accept and hold new beliefs, 
new judgments, in short, new knowledge.* After 
waking he may or may not remember his hypnotic 
experiences. Generally he does. If he does the new 
knowledge, if firmly organized (by repetition and 
strong affective tones) is still retained, and if ac- 
cepted (i. e., not repressed by conflicting ideas) 
shapes his views and conduct in accordance there- 

* Provided, of course, this new knowledge is justified and not 
contradicted by the facts and principles of life. In other words, it 
must be believed, at least, to be the truth. 


with. Even if his hypnotic experiences are not re- 
membered, they still belong to his personality, inas- 
much as they are neurographically conserved, and, 
experience shows, may still influence his stream of 
consciousness. His views are modified by his uncon- 
scious personality. His ideas may and generally do 
awaken the neurograms of associated systems cre- 
ated in hypnosis. Not remembering the hypnotic 
state as a whole he does not remember the origin of 
his new knowledge; that is all. 

One point to be borne in mind is that conserved 
ideas, whether we can recall them or not, so long as 
they are conserved are a part of our personality, as 
I have previously pointed out, and ideas can emerge 
from the unconscious into the field of the conscious 
though we have completely forgotten their origin. 
It requires but a single experiment in the induction 
of suggested post-hypnotic phenomena to demon- 
strate these principles. 

3. As to those pathological states where there is a 
splitting of personality hysterical crises, psycho- 
leptic attacks, trance states, certain types of epi- 
lepsy, etc. complexes may similarly be formed in 
them. In these conditions there is a dissociation of 
a large part of the normal mental life, and that 
which is left is only a limited field of consciousness. 
A new synthesis comes into being out of the uncon- 
scious to represent the personal self. Though the 
content of consciousness is a reproduction of, or de- 
termined by certain previous experiences, it is also 
true that in these states new experiences may result 


in new complexes which then take part in the per- 
sonality as with hypnotic experiences. 

Personality as the survival of organized antecedent expe- 
riences Of course all our past mental experiences 
do not persist as organized complexes. The latter, 
after they have served their purpose, tend to become 
disaggregated, just as printer's type is disaggre- 
gated or distributed after it has served its purpose 
in printing. In the organization and development of 
personality the elements of the mental experiences 
become sifted, as it were. Normally, in the adapta- 
tion of the individual to the environment, the unes- 
sential and useless, the intermediate steps leading 
to the final and useful, tend to drop out without leav- 
ing surviving residua, while the essential and useful 
tend to remain as memories capable of recall. In 
the unconscious these remain more or less perma- 
nently fixed as limited ideas, sentiments, and sys- 
tems of complexes. Further, those complexes of ex- 
periences which persist not only provide the mate- 
rial for our memories, but tend, consciously or un- 
consciously, to shape the judgments, beliefs, convic- 
tions, habits, and tendencies of our mental lives. 
Whence they came, how they were born, we have 
long ceased to remember. We often arrive at con- 
clusions which we imagine in our ignorance we have 
constructed at the moment unaided out of our in- 
ner consciousness. In one sense this is true, but 
that inner consciousness has been largely deter- 
mined by the vestiges furnished by forgotten expe- 


riences. Many of these we imbibed from our envir- 
onment and the experiences of our fellows; in this 
sense we are all plagiarists of the past. 

Furthermore, we react, to a large extent, to our 
environment in a way that we do not thoroughly 
understand because these reactions are determined 
by the impulses of unconscious complexes organ- 
ized with innate dispositions. Indeed, our reac- 
tions to the environment, our moral and social con- 
duct, the affective reactions of our sentiments, in- 
stincts, feelings, and other conative tendencies, our 
"habits," judgments, points of view, and attitudes 
of mind all that we term character and personality 
are predetermined by the mental experiences of 
the past by which they are developed, organized, and 
conserved in the unconscious. Otherwise all would 
be chaos. We are thus the offspring of our past and 
the past is the present. 

This same principle underlies what is called the 
"social conscience," the "civic" and "national con- 
science," patriotism, public opinion, what the Ger- 
mans call " Sittlichkeit, " the war attitude of mind, 
etc. All these mental attitudes may be reduced to 
common habits of thought and conduct derived from 
mental experiences common to a given community 
and conserved as complexes in the unconscious of 
the several individuals of the community.* 

* While these pages were in press, Lord Haldane in hia Montreal 
address (before the American Bar Association), which has attracted 
wide attention, developed the psychological principle of "Sitttich- 


Through education, whether scholastic, voca- 
tional, or social, we inherit the experiences of our 
predecessors and become " . . . the heir of all the 
ages, in the foremost files of time." But the con- 
ceptions of one age can never represent those of a 
preceding age. The veriest layman in science to- 

keit, " as applied to communities, the nation and groups of nations. 
By " Sittlichkeit " is meant the social habit of mind and action 
underlying social customs, the instinctive sense of social obligation 
which is the foundation of society. This plainly includes what is 
often called the social conscience and actions impelled thereby. In 
further definition of this principle Lord Haldane quotes Fichte as 
stating "Sittlichkeit" to mean "those principles of conduct which 
regulate people in their relations to each other, and have become 
matter of habit and second nature at the stage of culture reached, 
and of which, therefore, we are not explicitly conscious. ' ' The point 
was made that the citizen is governed "only to a small extent by 
law and legality on the one hand, and by the dictates of the indi- 
vidual conscience on the other." It is the more extensive system of 
"Sittlichkeit" which plays the predominant role. Out of this sys- 
tem there develops a unity of thought and "a common ideal" which 
can be made to penetrate the soul of a people and to take complete 
possession of it. Likewise there develops "a general will with which 
the will of the good citizen is in accord." This will of the com- 
munity (inspired by the common ideal) is common to the indi- 
viduals composing it. Lord Haldane goes on to make the point that 
what is now true within a single nation may in time come to be 
true between nations or a group of nations. Thus an international 
habit of looking to common ideals may grow up sufficiently strong 
to develop a general will, and to make the binding power of those 
ideas a reliable sanction for their obligations to each other. With 
this thesis, ably presented and fortified though it be, we are not 
here concerned. The point I wish to make is that this conception of 
" Sittlichkeit " which Lord Haldane in his remarkable address, des- 
tined I believe to become historic, so ably develops and applies to 
the solution of a world-problem is in psychological terms identical 
with that of complexes of ideas and affects organized in the un- 


day could not entertain the conceptions underlying 
many hypotheses formulated by the wisest of the 
preceding age of a Galileo, a Descartes, or Pascal. 
Lucretius, in the first century B. C., argued, with 
what for the time was great force, that the soul of 
man was corporeal and that it "must consist of very 
small seeds and be inwoven through veins and flesh 
and sinews ; inasmuch as, after it has all withdrawn 
from the whole body the exterior contour of the 
limbs preserves itself entire and not a tittle of the 
weight is lost." 

Lucretius gave much thought to this problem, but 
to-day the least cultured person, who has never re- 
flected at all on psychological matters, would rec- 
ognize the foolishness of such a conception and re- 
ject the hypothesis.* He would call it common-sense 
which guided him, but common-sense depends upon 
the fact that in the unconscious lie memories, the 
reasons for and origin of which we do not remem- 
ber; these nullify such an hypothesis. These con- 
tradicting ideas, sifted out of those belonging to the 
social education, have become fixed as dormant or 
organized memories, and determine the judgments 
and trends of the personal consciousness. These 
memory vestiges may work for good or evil, shape 

* Professor G. S. Fuller-ton, in the course of an essay, ' ' Is the 
Mind in the Body?" interestingly refers to this fact and points out 
that common sense directs the common man in repudiating ancient 
doctrines, and that it is "part of his share in the heritage of the 
race. " ' ' The common sense which guides men is the resultant atti- 
tude due to many influences, some of them dating very far back 
indeed." The Popular Science Monthly, May, 1907. 


our personal consciousness into a useful or useless 
form, one that adapts or unfits the organism to its 
environment. In the latter case they drive the or- 
ganism into the field of pathological psychology. 



In the preceding lecture when describing the or- 
ganization of emotional complexes, I mentioned, 
somewhat incidentally, that their fuller meaning 
was to be found in antecedent experiences of life; 
and that these experiences conserved in the uncon- 
scious formed a setting that gave the point of view 
and attitude of mind. It was pointed out also that 
if we wish to know the reason why a given experi- 
ence, like that of Voltaire with Frederick, awakens 
a strong emotional reaction, and why the memory of 
this experience continues persistently organized 
with the emotion or gives rise to the emotional re- 
action whenever stimulated, we must look to this set- 
ting of antecedent experiences which gives the ideas 
of the complexes meaning. We need now to inquire 
to what extent the unconscious complex in which the 
setting has roots may take part in the process which 
gives meaning to an idea. It is a problem in 
psycho genesis and psychological mechanisms. As 
an imperatively recurring emotional complex is an 
obsession the full meaning of any given obsession is 
involved in the psychological problem of "Idea and 
Meaning. ' ' 



Let us, then, take up for discussion this latter 
problem as preliminary to the study of that impor- 
tant psychosis obsessing ideas and emotions. 

A perception, or, what is in principle the same 
thing, an idea of an object, although apparently a 
simple thing, is really, as a rule, a complex affair. 
Without attempting to enter deeply into the psychol- 
ogy of perception (and ideas), and particularly into 
the conventional conception of perception as usu- 
ally expounded in the text-books a conception 
which to my mind is inadequate and incomplete * 
it is sufficient for our immediate purposes to point 
out in a general rough way the following facts con- 
cerning perception. 

Perception a synthesis of primary and secondary images. 
Perception may be regarded both as a process 
and as a group of conscious elements some of 
which are within the focus of attention or aware- 
ness and some of which are outside this focus. As 
a process it undoubtedly may include much that is 
entirely subconscious and therefore without con- 
scious equivalents, and much that appears in con- 
sciousness. As a group of conscious elements it is 
a fusion, amalgamation, or compounding of many 

* In that it takes into account only a limited number of the 
data at our disposal and neglects methods of investigation which 
afford data essential for the understanding of this psychological 


My perception of X., for example, whom I recog- 
nize as an acquaintance, is much more than a clus- 
ter of visual sensations I mean the sensations of 
color and form that come from the stimulation of my 
retina. Besides these sensations it includes a num- 
ber of imaginal memory images some of which are 
only in the fringe of consciousness and can only be 
recognized by introspection or under special condi- 
tions. These secondary images, as they are called, 
may be (as they most often are) visual, orienting 
him in space and in past associative relations, ac- 
cording to my previous experiences; they may be 
auditory the imaginal sound of his voice or verbal 
images of his name; or they may be the so-called 
kinesthetic images, etc. ; and all these images supple- 
ment the actual visual sensations of color and form. 

That such images take part in perception is of 
course well recognized in every text-book on psy- 
chology where they will be found described. It is 
easy to become aware of them under certain condi- 
tions. For instance, to take an auditory perception 
from every-day life, you are listening through the 
telephone and hear a strange voice speaking. Aside 
from the meaning of the words you are conscious of 
little more than auditory sensations although you do 
perceive them as those of a human voice and not of 
a phonograph. Then of a sudden you recognize the 
voice as that of an acquaintance. Instantly visual 
images of his face, and perhaps of the room in which 
he is speaking and his situation therein, of the fur- 
nishings of the room, etc., become associated with 


the voice. Your perception of the voice now takes 
on a fuller meaning in accordance with these imag- 
inal images. In such an experience, common prob- 
ably to everybody, the secondary images which take 
part in perception are unusually clear and easily de- 

Again, let us take a visual perception. You meet 
face to face a person whom at first sight seems unfa- 
miliar ; then in a flash visual images of a scene in a 
room where you first met, verbal images of his name, 
and the sound of his voice rush into consciousness. 
The comparatively simple perception of a man has 
now given place to a more complex perception (ap- 
perception) of an acquaintance and has acquired a 
new meaning. This new meaning is in part due to 
these images which have supplemented the visual 
sensations; but it is also due to the cooperation of 
another and important factor the context which I 
will presently consider. 

Another situation of every-day life in which we 
become aware of the images is when riding in a 
street car at night we look out of the window and 
fail to recognize the individual buildings as we pass 
them though we perceive them as houses. The 
neighborhood being obscured by darkness, the 
buildings have no meaning from the point of view 
of their uses, proprietorship, locality, etc., but only 
from an architectural point of view. Then sud- 
denly, by some apparently subconscious process, 
visual memory images of the unseen neighborhood 
(hidden in darkness), and of the interior of the 


buildings, flash into consciousness in conjunction 
with the actual visual pictures of the buildings. In 
imagination we at once see the locality and recog- 
nize (or apperceive) the buildings which acquire a 
new meaning as particular shops, which we have 
often entered, located in a particular locality, etc. 

Again, take a tactual perception: If you close 
your eyes and touch, say a point on your left hand, 
with your finger, you not only perceive the touch but 
you perceive the exact spot that you touched. Your 
perception includes localization. Now if you fix 
your attention and introspect carefully you will find 
that you visualize your hand and see, more or less 
vividly, the point touched (and the touching finger). 
If you draw a figure on the hand you will visualize 
that figure. That is to say imaginal visual images 
of the hand, figure, etc., enter into the tactual per- 
ceptions. You will probably also be able to feel 
faint tactual "images" of the hand (joints, fingers, 
etc.) which combine with the visualization.* The 
whole complex is the perception proper. 

The images which take part in actual perception, 

* It is of interest to note again in this connection that these 
secondary images may emerge from a subconscious process to form 
the structure of an hallucination. Various facts of observation 
which I have collected support the thesis advanced by Sidis (loc. 
cit.) on theoretical grounds "that hallucinations are synthesized 
compounds of secondary sensory elements dissociated completely or 
incompletely from their primary elements." It would carry us too 
far away from our theme to consider here this problem of special 
pathology. Sidis further insists that hallucinations are not central, 
but always "are essentially of peripheral origin," a view which, it 
seems to me, is incompatible with numerous facts of observation. 


or in ideas of objects, vary with the mode of per- 
ception (whether visual, auditory, tactile, etc.) and 
with objects, and in different people. Beading, or 
the perception of words, is in many people accom- 
panied by the sound of the words or kinesthetic im- 
ages of words. If the printed words are those of a 
person whose voice is familiar to us we may actu- 
ally hear his voice.* General kinesthetic images 
may occur in perception, as with objects which look 
heavy, i. e., have secondary tactual sensations of 
heaviness. Likewise tactile and olfactory images 
may enter the perceptual field and supplement the 
visual sensations. When the sensational experi- 
ences of perception are tactile, auditory, olfactory, 
or gustatory visual images probably always take 
part in the perceptual field if the object is perceived 
as, e. g., the perception of velvet by touch and of 
an orange by smell. Summing all this up we may 
say, using Titchener's words: "perceptions are se- 
lected groups of sensations in which images are in- 
corporated as an integral part of the whole proc- 
ess." We may further say the secondary images 
give meaning to sensations in forming a perception. 

Now, before proceeding further in this exposition, 
I would point out that if memory images are habitu- 
ally synthesized with sensations to form a given per- 
ception, and if perception is a matter of synthesis, 

* I once dictated into a phonograph a passage of a published 
work. Whenever I read that passage now I hear the sound of my 
own voice as it was emitted by the phonograph. 


then, theoretically, it ought to be possible to dis- 
sociate these images. Further, in that case, the per- 
ception as such ought to disappear. That this the- 
oretical assumption correctly represents the facts I 
have been able to demonstrate by the following ex- 
periment which I have repeated many times. I 
should first explain that it has been shown by Janet 
that by certain technical procedures some hysterics 
can be distracted in such a way that the experimen- 
ter 's voice is not consciously heard by them, but is 
heard and understood subconsciously. The ordi- 
nary procedure is to whisper to the subject while his 
attention is focused on something else. The whis- 
per undoubtedly acts as a suggestion that the sub- 
ject will not consciously hear what is whispered. 
The whispered word-images are accordingly disso- 
ciated, but are perceived coconsciously, and what- 
ever coconsciousness exists can be in this way sur- 
reptitiously communicated with and responses ob- 
tained without the knowledge of the personal con- 
sciousness. In this way I have been able to make 
numerous observations showing the presence of dis- 
sociated coconscious complexes which otherwise 
would not have been suspected. Now the experi- 
ment which I am about to cite was made for the 
purpose of determining whether certain experiences 
for which the subject had amnesia were cocon- 
sciously remembered, but the results obtained, be- 
sides giving affirmative evidence on this point, fur- 
nished certain instructive facts indicative of the dis- 
sociation of secondary images. 


The subject, Miss B., was in the state known as 
BlVa, an hypnotic state, her eyes closed. While 
she was conversing with me on a subject which held 
her attention I whispered in her ear with the view of 
communicating with coconscious ideas as above ex- 
plained. While I was whispering, she remarked, 
"Where have you gone?" and later asked why I 
went away and what I kept coming and going for. 
On examination it then appeared that it seemed to 
her that during the moments when I whispered in 
her ear I had gone away. That is to say, she could 
no longer visualize my body, the secondary imagi- 
nal visual images being dissociated with my whis- 
pered words. At these times, however, she continued 
the conversation and was not at all in a dreamy 
state. Testing her tactile sense it was found that 
there was no dissociation of this sense during these 
moments. She felt tactile impressions while she 
was not hearing my voice, but she explained after- 
wards [while whispering, of course, I could not ask 
questions regarding sensations aloud] that when I 
touched her, and when she held my hand, palpating 
it in a curious way as if trying to make out what it 
was, she felt the tactile impressions, or tactile sen- 
sations, but not naturally. It appeared as the re- 
sult of further observations that this feeling of 
unnaturalness and strangeness was due to a dis- 
sociation of the secondary visual images which nor- 
mally occur with the tactile images. (She described 
the tactile impressions of my hand as similar to 
those she felt when she lifted her own hand when it 


had "gone to sleep"; it felt dead and heavy as if 
it belonged to no one in particular. 

Testing further it was found that, before abstrac- 
tion, while she held my hand she could definitely 
visualize my hand, arm, and even face. While she 
was thus visualizing I again abstracted her auditory 
perceptions by the whispering process. At once the 
secondary visual images of my hand, etc., disap- 
peared. As with the auditory perceptions she could 
not obtain these visual images, although a moment 
before she could visualize as far as the elbow. 

Desiring now to learn whether these dissociated 
visual images were perceived coconsciously I whis- 
pered, at the same time holding her hand, "Do you 
see my hand, arm, and face ? ' ' She nodded (automa- 
tically) "Yes." "Does she [meaning the personal 
consciousness] see them?" (Answer by nod) "No." 
(The personal consciousness (BlVa) was unaware 
of the questions and nodding; the latter was per- 
formed subconsciously.) 

This experiment was repeated several times. As 
often as she ceased to hear my voice she ceased to 
visualize my hand, though she could feel it without 
recognizing it. It follows, therefore, that the dis- 
sociation of the auditory perceptions of my voice 
having also robbed the subject's personal conscious- 
ness of all visual images of my body, her previous 
tactual perception of my hand lost thereby its vis- 
ual images and ceased to be a perception. 

Let us take another observation: We have seen 
that a tactual perception of the body includes sec- 


ondary imaginal visual and other sensory images 
besides the tactile sensation. Now, of course, if 
sensation is dissociated so that one has complete 
anesthesia, no tactile sensation can be perceived. 
Under such conditions an anesthetic person theo- 
retically might not be able to imagine the dissociated 
tactile sensations and the associated visual images 
included in tactile perception. If so such a person 
would not be able to visualize his body. In other 
words, in accordance with the well-known principle 
that the dissociation of a specific memory robs the 
personal consciousness of other elements of experi- 
ences synthesized with the specific memory, the dis- 
sociation of the tactile images carries with it the 
visual images associated in perception. This theo- 
retical proposition is confirmed by actual observa- 
tion. Thus B. C. A. in one hypnotic state has gen- 
eral anesthesia, so complete that she has no con- 
sciousness of her body whatsoever. She does not 
know whether she is standing or sitting, nor the 
attitude of her limbs, or her location in space; she 
is simply thought in space. Now it is found that she 
can visualize the experimenter, the room, and the 
objects in the room although she cannot visualize 
any part of her own body. The dissociation of the 
tactual field of consciousness is so complete that she 
cannot evoke imaginal tactual images of the body, 
and this dissociation of these images carries with it 
that of the associated imaginal visual images. Vis- 
ual images of the environment, however, not being 
synthesized with the tactual body images, can be still 


evoked. So we see from observations based on in- 
trospection and experimentation that perception in- 
cludes, besides primary simple sensations of an ob- 
ject, secondary imaginal images of various kinds 
and in various numbers. 

Besides images the content of ideas includes "Mean- 
/ i" What I have said thus far refers to per- 


., ' f an o^Mid idea as the content of consciousness 

*\ * 

a group of conscious states. But this is not all 
when perception is regarded as a process. The ob- 
jects of experience have associative relations to 
other objects, actions, conduct, stimuli, constellated 
ideas, etc., i. e., past experiences represented by 
conserved (unconscious) complexes. As a result of 
previous experiences various associations have been 
organized with ideas and these complexes form the 
setting or the " context" (Tichener) which gives 
ideas meaning. As the secondary images give mean- 
ing to sensations to form ideas (or perceptions), so 
these associated complexes as settings give meaning 
to ideas. This setting in more general terms may be 
regarded as the attitude of mind, point of view, in- 
terest, etc. Just as the context in a printed sentence 
gives meaning to a given word, and determines 
which of two or more ideas it is meant to be the sign 
of, so in the process of all perceptions the associated 
ideas give meaning to the perception. Indeed it is 
probable that the context as a process determines 
what images shall become incorporated with sensa- 
tions to form the nucleus of the perception. Percep- 


tion thus takes one meaning when it is constellated 
with one complex and another meaning when con- 
stellated with another complex. 

" Meaning" plays such an important part in the 
mental reactions of pathological and everyday life 
that I feel we must study it a little more closely be- 
fore proceeding with our theme. 

The idea horse * as the content of consciousness 
includes more than the primary and second j n ~ ^- 
sory images which constitute a perception v . m 
animal with four legs distinguished anatomically 
from other animals : The idea includes the meaning 
of a particular kind of animal possessing certain 
functions, useful for particular purposes and occu- 
pying a particular place in civilization, etc. We 
are distinctly conscious of this meaning; and al- 

* I intentionally do not here say idea of a horse because the use 
of the preposition (while, of course, correctly used to distinguish 
horse as an idea from a material horse, or the former as a particu- 
lar idea among ideas in general) has led, as it seems to me, in- 
sidiously to specious reasoning. Thus Mr. Hoernle' (Image, Idea and 
Meaning, Mind, January, 1907) argues that every idea has a mean- 
ing because every idea is an idea of some thing. Although this is 
true in a descriptive sense, psychologically idea-of-a-horse is a com- 
pound term and an imagined horse. The idea itself is horse. The 
speciousness of the reasoning appears when we substitute horse for 
idea; then the phrase would read, a "horse is always a horse of 
something." I agree, of course, that every idea has a meaning, but 
not to this particular reasoning by which the conclusion is reached, 
as when, for example, Mr. Hoernle when traversing James' theory 
cites "image of the breakfast table" to denote that the breakfast 
table is the meaning of the image. The image is the (imagined) 
breakfast table. They are not different things as are leg and chair 
in the phrase, "leg of the chair," where chair plainly gives the 
meaning to leg. 


though we may abstract more or less successfully 
the visual image of the animal from the meaning, 
and attend to the former alone, the result is an arti- 
fact. Likewise we may as an artifice abstract, to a 
large degree, the meaning from the image, keeping 
the latter in the background, and attend to the mean- 

That meaning just as much as the sensory image 
of an object is part of the conscious content of an 
idea becomes apparent at once, the moment the 
setting becomes altered and an object is collocated 
with a new set of experiences (knowledge regarding 
it). X, for example, has been known to the world 
as a pious, god-fearing, moral man, a teacher of the 
Christian religion. My perception of him, so far 
as made up of images, is, properly speaking, that 
which distinguishes him anatomically from other 
men of my acquaintance, that by which I recognize 
him as X and not as Y. But my perception also has 
a distinctly conscious meaning, that of a Christian 
man. This meaning also distinguishes him in his 
qualities from other men. Now it transpires to 
every one's astonishment that X is a foul, cruel, 
murderer of women a Jack-the-Eipper. My per- 
ception of him is the same but it has acquired an 
entirely different meaning. A bestial, villainous 
meaning has replaced the Christian meaning. So 
almost all objects have different meanings in differ- 
ent persons ' minds, or at different times in the same 
person's mind, according to the settings (experi- 
ences) with which they are collocated. My percep- 


tion of A has the meaning of physician, while one 
of his family perceives him as father or husband. 
My perception of a snake, it may be, has the mean- 
ing of a loathsome, venomous animal, while a natur- 
alist's perception may be that of a vertebrate repre- 
senting a certain stage of evolution, and a psycholo- 
gist holding certain theories may perceive it with 
a meaning given by those theories, viz. : as a sexual 

This fact of meaning becomes still more obvious 
when we reflect that the meaning of a perception, as 
of A's personality as a physician or father, may 
occupy the focus of attention while the images of 
his face, voice, etc., may sink into the background. 

Every one is agreed then that every idea or com- 
bination of ideas has " meaning" of some sort. 
Even nonsense syllables have in a psychological 
sense some meaning, which may be an alliteration of 
sound, or a symbolism of nonsense (e. g., "fol-de- 
rol-di-rol-dol-day") or as suitable tests for psy- 
chological experiments. I am speaking now, of 
course, of meaning as dealt with by psychology as 
a content of consciousness, and not as dealt with 
by logic. Every one also will probably agree that 
the content of an idea is a composite of sensory 
elements (images) and meaning I would like to 
say of perception and meaning; but the use of two 
abstract terms is likely to lead to a juggling with 
words by turning attention away from the concrete 
facts for which the terms stand, and by connoting a 
sharp distinction between perception and meaning 


which, as I observe the facts, does not hold. Indeed 
the common though useful habit of psychologists of 
treating meaning as an abstract symbol without 
specific reference to those elements of the content 
of consciousness for which it stands has, it seems 
to me, led to considerable confusion of thought. 

Mr. Hoernle, who has given us one of the clearest 
expositions of idea and meaning that I have read,* 
designates that constituent of an idea which is the 
psychical image of an object (e. g., "the visual per- 
ception of a horse " ) by the term ' ' sign. " ' ' Signs, ' ' 
he states "are always sensational in nature, whether 
they are actual sensations (as in sense-perception) 
or ideas (images or 'revived' sensations)." Accord- 
ingly an idea is a composite of sign and meaning, 
or, as Mr. Hoernle has well expressed it: "Both the 
idea f and its meaning, then, must be present in con- 
sciousness. Or perhaps it would be more accurate 
to say that they form together a complex psychical 
whole, a 'psychosis,' of which the different elements, 
however, enjoy different degrees of prominence in 
consciousness or draw upon themselves different 
amounts of attention. . . . Normally we apperceive 
merely the meaning, and the image or sign remains 
in the background, in the shade as it were. But of 
course we can make the image or sign the special 
object of attention; we can apperceive it and corre- 
spondingly the meaning falls into the background. 

* E. F. Hoernlg, Image, Idea and Meaning, Mind, January, 1907. 
t Idea, according to Mr. Hoernl6 's context, is here used in the 
sense of a word, image or sign. 


But it does not disappear ; it remains in conscious- 
ness. ' ' And again, ' ' every idea is a concrete whole 
of sign and meaning, in which the meaning, even 
when unanalyzed and 'implicit' is what is essential 
and prominent in consciousness. The sign on the 
other hand which we saw reason to identify with 
certain sensational elements in this conscious ex- 
perience is normally subordinate and I have called 
this concrete idea a ( psychic whole' ..." 

I quote these passages from Mr. Hoernle as they 
are admirably clear statements of the theory, but as 
descriptions they are a very incomplete analysis 
of the content of ideas, and fall far. short of what 
we require to know when dealing with the problem 
of mental mechanisms. It is all very well to speak 
of meaning in this general way; but to rest content 
with such an abstract term is to only present the 
problem and there stop short. Mr. Hoernle rests 
content with the negative statement that meaning 
"does not consist in images and other words." 
What then does it consist in? 

It must be admitted that the problem is a very 
difficult one and therefore it is, I suppose, that most 
psychologists, as if scenting danger, seem to dodge 
the question and rest content to use meaning as a 
symbol like the unknown x and y of algebra. If 
meaning is a part of the content of consciousness 
it must be analyzable into specific conscious ele- 
ments (images, thoughts, words, feelings or what 
not) representing to some extent and in some way 
past experiences. 


Obviously a full rounded-out psychology of mean- 
ing must include an analysis of the content of mean- 
ing.* I have no intention of entering upon this task 
here and it is not my business. It would, however, 
be of very great assistance in solving many of the 
problems of abnormal psychology if the psychology 
of meaning were better worked out. But con- 
versely, I would say, considerable light on the psy- 
chology of meaning can be derived from the study 
of abnormal conditions, and of the mental phenom- 
ena artificially provoked by hypnotic procedures. 
Some of the observations which I shall presently 
cite contribute, I believe, to this end. 

Permit me also to point out as the point is one 
which has considerable bearing on our theme that 
the descriptive statement that ideas are a composite 
of two distinct elements, perception (images, signs) 
and meaning, is inadequate in another respect; it 
is too static and schematic. Although it is conve- 
nient to distinguish between perception and mean- 
ing, they shade into one another and indeed there 
does not seem to be any justification for regarding 
them as other than one dynamic process. As we 
have seen, perception is made up of a primary sen- 
sory image of an object combined with a number of 
secondary images. This in itself is a "psychic 
whole", and, as I view it, contains meaning. My 
perception of a watch contains secondary images 

* Of course the constituents of the content must vary in each in- 
dividual instance, but the kind of conscious elements that in general 
give meaning to the sensory part of the idea can be determined. 


which give it the meaning of a watch and make it 
something more than a visual image. It may have a 
still larger and different meaning, that of a souve- 
nir of a dead friend, and in this larger meaning the 
perception of the watch becomes subordinate, as a 
sign or group of images, and sinks into the back- 
ground, while the added meaning occupies the focus 
of attention. Indeed the primary image of a per- 
ception may sink into relative insignificance in the 
background, while the secondary images become all- 
important and practically constitute the actual per- 
ception (or idea) as a psychic whole. Consider, for 
instance, what different secondary images (and 
meaning) are in the focus and how the primary 
image of the word "son" (spoken or written) al- 
most disappears, according as the context shows it 
to be my son or your son; and how correspondingly 
different are those ideas. And so with a wider filial 
meaning of son. It is safe to say that King Lear's 
idea of "daughter" had not the filial meaning con- 
ventionally ascribed to that relationship. 

If all this that I have said is valid the difference 
between that which we call perception and that 
which we call meaning is one of complexity. The 
less complex we call perception, the more complex, 
meaning. Both are determined by past experiences 
the residua of which are the settings. 

This may be illustrated by the following : We will 
suppose that three persons in imagination perceive 
a certain building used as a department store on 


a certain street I have in mind now, in a growing 
section of the city. One of these persons is an archi- 
tect, another is an owner of property on this street, 
and the third is a woman who is in the habit of 
making purchases in the department store. When 
the architect thinks of the building he perceives it 
in his mind's eye in an architectural setting, that 
is, its architectural style, proportions, features, and 
relations. His perception includes a number of 
secondary images of the neighboring buildings, of 
their styles of architecture, and of their relations 
from an aesthetic point of view. In the perception 
of the owner of property there are also a number of 
secondary images, but these are of the passing peo- 
ple and traffic, of neighboring buildings as shops 
and places of business. In the perception of the 
woman the secondary images are of the interior of 
the store, the articles for sale, clothes she would like 
to purchase and possibly bargains dear to every 
woman 's heart. Plainly each perceives the building 
from a different point of view. Each might per- 
ceive the building from the same point of view, but 
the point of view differs because of the differences 
in the past experiences of each. 

In the case of the architect these experiences were 
those of previous observations on the architecture 
of the growing neighborhood. In the case of the 
property owner they were of thoughtful reflections 
on the future development of neighboring property, 
on the industrial relations of the building to busi- 
ness, and on the speculative future value of the 


property. In the case of the woman they were of 
purchases she had made, of articles she had seen 
and desired, of scenes inside the shop, etc. Out of 
these experiences respectively a complex was built 
and conserved in the mind of each. The idea of the 
building is set in these respective experiences which 
therefore may be called its setting. The imaginal 
perception of the building obviously has a different 
meaning for each of our three observers, and it is 
plainly the setting which governs the meaning, i. e., 
an architectural, industrial, or shopping meaning, 
as the case happens to be ; and we may further say 
the setting determines the point of view or attitude 
of mind or interest. Either the perception proper 
of the building or the meaning may be in the focus 
of attention and the other recede into the back- 
ground or the fringe of awareness. 

Further, different affects may enter into each set- 
ting and, therefore, into the perception. With the 
architectural perception there may be linked an 
aesthetic joyful emotion ; with the industrial percep- 
tion a depressing emotion of anxiety ; with the shop- 
ping perception perhaps one of anger. (This link- 
ing of an emotion, of course, has a great importance 
for psychopathic states.) 

The dependence of perceptions upon their settings 
for meaning has been very beautifully expressed by 
Emerson in "Each and All": 

"Nothing is fair or good alone. 
I thought the sparrow's note from heaven, 
Singing at dawn on the alder bough; 


I brought him home, in his nest, at even; 
He sings the song, but it cheers not now, 
For I did not bring home the river and sky; 
He sang to my ear they sang to my eye. 
The delicate shells lay on the shore ; 
The bubbles of the latest wave 
Fresh pearls to their enamel gave, 
And the bellowing of the savage sea 
Greeted their safe escape to me. 
I wiped away the weeds and foam, 
I fetched my sea-born treasures home; 
But the poor unsightly, noisome things 
Had left their beauty on the shore 
' With the sun and the sand and the wild uproar." 

The practical application of the theory to emotional out- 
breaks of everyday life The significance of these 
principles for our purpose lies in the fact that 
they enable us to understand numerous psycho- 
logical events of everyday and pathological life 
that otherwise would be unintelligible. It is 
worth while then to study a little more closely 
the practical application in everyday life of this 
principle of settings before applying it to the 
more difficult problem of imperative ideas or obses- 

No psychological event, any more than a physical 
event, stands entirely isolated, all alone by itself, 
without relation to other events. Every psychologi- 
cal event is related more or less intimately to ante- 
cedent events, and the practical importance or value 
of this relation depends for the individual partly 
upon the nature of the relation itself, and partly 


upon the ontological value of those anterior events, 
i. e., the part they played and still play in the per- 
sonality of the individual. No event, therefore, if 
it is to be completely interpreted, should be viewed 
by itself but only in relation to preceding ones. For 
example: a husband good humoredly and thought- 
lessly chaffs his wife about the cost of a new hat 
which she exhibits with pride and pleasure. The 
wife in reply expresses herself by an outburst of 
anger which, to the astonished bystander, seems an 
entirely unjustifiable and inexplicable response to 
an entirely inadequate cause. Now if the bystander 
were permitted to make a psychological inquiry into 
the mental processes of the wife, he would find that 
the chaffing remark had meaning for her very differ- 
ent from what it had for him, and probably also 
for the husband; that it meant much more to her 
than the cost of that hat. He would find that it was 
set in her mind in a number of antecedent experi- 
ences consisting of criticisms of the wife by the hus- 
band for extravagance in dress ; and perhaps crimi- 
nations and recriminations involving much angry 
feeling on the part of both, and he would probably 
find that when the hat was purchased the possibility 
of criticism on the ground of extravagance passed 
through her mind. The chaffing remark of the hus- 
band therefore in the mind of the wife had for a 
context all these past experiences which formed a 
setting and gave an unintended meaning to the re- 
mark. The angry response, therefore, was dictated 
by these antecedent experiences and not simply by 


the trivial matter of the cost of a hat, standing by 
itself. The event can only be interpreted in the light 
of these past conserved experiences. How much of 
all this antecedent experience was in consciousness 
at the moment is another question which we shall 
presently consider. 

I have often had occasion to interpret cryptic oc- 
currences of this kind happening with patients or 
acquaintances. They make quite an amusing social 
game. (A knowledge of this principle shows the 
impossibility of outsiders judging the Tightness or 
wrongness of misunderstandings and contretemps 
between individuals particularly married people.) 
To complete the interpretation of this episode of 
the hat although a little beside the point under 
consideration : plainly the anger to which the wife 
gave expression was the affect linked with and the 
reaction to the setting-complex formed by antece- 
dent experiences. To state the matter in another 
way, these experiences were the formative material 
out of which a psychological torch had been plasti- 
cally fashioned ready to be set ablaze by the first 
touch of a match in this case the chaffing remark 
or associated idea. This principle of the setting, 
which gives meaning to an idea, being the conserved 
neurograms of related antecedent experiences is 
strikingly manifest in pathological and quasi-patho- 
logical conditions. I will mention only two in- 

The first, that of X. Y. Z., I shall have occasion to 


refer to in more detail in connection with the emo- 
tions and instincts in a later lecture.* This lady, on 
the first night of her marriage, felt deeply hurt in 
her pride from a fancied neglect on the part of her 
husband. The cause was trivial and could not pos- 
sibly be taken by any sensible person as an adequate 
justification for the resentment which followed and 
the somewhat tragic revenge which she practiced 
(continuous voluntary repression of the sexual in- 
stinct during many years). But the fancied slight 
had a meaning for her which did not appear on the 
surface. As she herself insisted, in attempted ex- 
tenuation of her conduct, "You must not take it 
alone by itself but in connection with the past." It 
appeared that during the betrothal period there 
had been a number of experiences wounding to her 
pride and leading to angry resentment. These had 
been ostensibly but not really forgiven. The action 
of her spouse on the important night in question had 
a meaning for her of a slight, because it stood in 
relation to all these other antecedent experiences, 
and through these only could its meaning (for her) 
be interpreted. As a practical matter of therapeu- 
tics it became evident that the cherished resentment 
of years and the physiological consequences could 
only be removed by readjusting the setting the 
memories of all the antecedent experiences with 
their resentment. 

The second instance was a case of hysteria of the 
neurasthenic type with outbreaks of emotional at- 

* P. 462, Lecture XIV. 


tacks in a middle-aged woman. It developed imme- 
diately, in the midst of good health, out of a violent 
and protracted fit of anger, almost frenzy, two years 
ago, culminating in the first emotional or hysterical 
attack. Looked at superficially the fit of anger 
would be considered childish because it was aroused 
by the fact that some children were allowed to make 
the day hideous by firing cannon-crackers continu- 
ally under her window in celebration of the national 
holiday. When more deeply analyzed it was found 
that the anger was really resentment at what she 
considered unjustifiable treatment of herself by 
others, and particularly by her husband, who would 
not take steps to have the offense stopped. It is 
impossible to go into all the details here; suffice it 
to say that below the surface the experiences of life 
had deposited a large accumulation of grievances 
against which resentment had been continuous over 
a long series of years. Although loving and respect- 
ing her husband, a man of force and character, yet 
she had long realized she was not as necessary to 
his life as she wanted to be ; that he could get along 
without her, however fond he was of her; and that 
he was the stronger character in one way. She 
wanted to be wanted. Against all this for years 
she had felt anger and resentment. She had con- 
cealed her feelings, controlled them, repressed them, 
if you will, but there remained a general dissatis- 
faction against life, a "kicking against the pricks," 
and a quickness to anger, though its expression had 


been well controlled. These were the formative in- 
fluences which laid the mine ready to be fired by a 
spark, feelings of resentment and anger which had 
been incubating for years. Finally the spark came 
in the form of a childish offense. The frenzy of 
anger was ostensibly only the reaction to that of- 
fense, but it was really the explosion of years of 
antecedent experiences. The apparent offense was 
only the manifested cause, symbolic if you like so 
to express it, of the underlying accumulated causes 
contained in life's grievances.* After completion 
of the analysis the patient herself recognized this in- 
terpretation to be the true meaning of her anger and 
point of view. 

Similarly in everyday life the emotional shocks 
from fear in dangerous situations, to which most 
people are subject and which so often give rise to 
traumatic psychoses, must primarily find their 
source in the psychological setting of the percep- 
tion of the situation (railroad, automobile, and other 
accidents). This setting is fashioned from the con- 
served knowledge of the fatal and other conse- 
quences of such accidents. This knowledge, de- 
posited by past mental experiences that which has 
been heard and read induces a dormant apprehen- 
sion of accidents and gives the meaning of danger 
to a perception of a present situation, and in itself, 

Prince: The Mechanism of Becurrent Psychopathic States, with 
Special Reference to Anxiety States, Journal of Abnormal Psychol- 
ogy, June-July, 1911, pp. 153-154. 


I may add, furnishes the neurographic fuel ready to 
be set ablaze by the first accident.* 

* Ibid., p. 152. It is interesting to note that statistics show that 
traumatic psychoses following railway accidents are comparatively 
rare among trainmen, while exceedingly common among passengers. 
The reason is to be found in the difference in the settings of ideas 
of accidents in the two classes of persons. It is the same psycholog- 
ical difference that distinguishes the seasoned veteran soldier from 
the raw recruit in the presence of the enemy. 



The content of the fringe of consciousness considered as a 
subconscious zone It is obvious that all the past ex- 
periences which originate the meaning of an idea 
cannot be in consciousness at a given moment If I 
carefully introspect my irnaginal perception or idea 
of an object, say of a politician, I do not find in my 
consciousness all the elements which have given me 
my viewpoint or attitude of mind toward him the 
meaning of my idea of him as a great statesman 
or a demagogue, whichever it be and yet it may 
not be difficult, by referring to my memory, to find 
the past experiences which have furnished the set- 
ting which gives this viewpoint Very little of all 
these past experiences can be in the content of con- 
sciousness, and much less in the focus of attention, 
at any given moment, nevertheless I cannot doubt 
that these experiences really determined the mean- 
ing of my idea, for if challenged I proceed to recite 
this conserved knowledge. And so it is with every- 
one who defends the validity of the meaning of his 

The question at once comes to mind in the case 



of any given perception, how much of past experi- 
ence (associated ideas) is in consciousness at any 
given moment as the setting which provides the 

That the meaning must be in consciousness is ob- 
vious; else the term ''meaning" would have no 
meaning it would be sheer nonsense to talk of ideas 
having meaning. As I have said, the meaning may 
be in the focus of attention or it may be in the 
fringe or background according to the point of in- 
terest. If in the focus of attention, meaning plainly 
may, synchronously or successively, include ideas of 
quite a large number of past experiences, but if in 
the background it may be another matter. In this 
case it may be held, and probably in many instances 
quite rightly, that meaning is a short summary of 
past experiences, or summing up in the form of a 
symbol, and that this summary or symbol is in the 
focus of attention or in the fringe of awareness, L 
e., is clearly or dimly conscious. Thus, in one of the 
examples above given, the industrial meaning of 
the owner's idea of the building might be a short 
summing up of his past cogitations on the business 
value of the property ; in the case of my idea of the 
politician, the symbol "statesman" or "dema- 
gogue" as the case might be might be in con- 
sciousness and be the meaning. All the rest of the 
past associative experiences in either case would 
furnish the origin of the setting but would not be 
the actual functioning setting itself. 

It must be confessed, however, that the content 


of meaning, when it is not in the focus of attention, 
often becomes very elusive when we try to clearly 
revive it retrospectively and differentiate the par- 
ticular states of consciousness present at any given 
moment. It is probably because of this elusiveness, 
as of something that seems to evade analysis, that, 
it was so long overlooked as an object of psychologi- 
cal study. Yet if meaning is not something more 
than an abstract term, and is really a component 
of a moment's consciousness, we ought to be able 
to analyze it in any given instance provided our 
methods of investigation are adequate. The diffi- 
culty, I think, largely arises from the fact that the 
minute we direct attention to such elements of the 
content of consciousness of any given moment as 
are not in the focus of attention they at once become 
shifted into the focus and the composition of the 
content also becomes altered. Consequently we are 
never immediately vividly or fully aware of the 
whole content. The only method of learning what 
is the whole content at any given moment is by. ret- 
rospection the recovery of it as memory. Fur- 
ther, special technical methods are required. Then, 
too, image and meaning are constantly shifting their 
relative positions, at one time the one being in the 
focus of attention, the other in the fringe, and vice 

When speaking colloquially of the content of con- 
sciousness we have in mind those ideas or compo- 
nents of ideas elements of thought which are in 


the focus of attention, and therefore that of which 
we are more or less vividly aware. If you were 
asked to state what was in your mind at a given 
moment it is the vivid elements, upon which your 
attention was focused, that you would describe. 
But, as everyone knows, these do not constitute the 
whole field of consciousness at any given moment. 
Besides these there is in the background of the mind, 
outside the focus, a conscious margin or fringe of 
varying extent (consisting of sensations, percep- 
tions, and even thoughts) of which you are only 
dimly aware. It is a sort of twilight zone in which 
the contents are so slightly illuminated by aware- 
ness as to be scarcely recognizable. The contents 
of this zone are readily forgotten owing to their 
having been outside the focus of attention ; but much 
can be recalled if an effort to do so (retrospection) 
is made immediately after any given moment's ex- 
perience. Much can only be recalled by the use of 
special technical methods of investigation. I be- 
lieve that the more thoroughly this wonderful re- 
gion is explored the richer it will be found to be in 
conscious elements. 

It must not be thought that because we are only 
dimly aware of the contents of this twilight zone 
therefore the individual elements lack definiteness 
and positive reality. To do so is to confuse the 
awareness of a certain something with that some- 
thing itself. To so think would be like thinking that, 
because we do not distinctly recognize objects in the 
darkness, therefore they are but shadowy forms 


without substance. When, in states of abstraction 
or hypnosis, the ideas of this fringe of attention are 
recalled, as often is easily done, they are remem- 
bered as very definite, real, conscious elements, and 
the memory of them is as vivid as that of most 
thoughts. That these marginal ideas are not 
"vivid" at the time of their occurrence means sim- 
ply that they are not in such dynamic relations with 
the whole content of consciousness as to be the focus 
of awareness or attention. What sort of relations 
are requisite for "awareness" is an unsolved prob- 
lem. It seems to be a matter not only of synthesis 
but of dynamic relations within the synthesis. 

However that may be, outside that dynamic syn- 
thesis which we distinguish as the focus of attention 
we can at certain moments recognize or recall to 
memory (whether through technical devices or not) 
a number of different conscious states. These may 
be roughly classified as follows: 

1: Visual, auditory, and other sensory impres- 
sions to which we are not giving attention (e. g., 
the striking of a clock ; the sound of horses passing 
in the street; voices from the next room; coenaes- 
thetic and other sensations of the body. 

2: The secondary sensory images of which I 
spoke in the last lecture as taking part in percep- 

3: Associative memories and thoughts pertain- 
ing to the ideas in the focus of attention. 

4 : Secondary independent trains of thought not 
related to those in the focus of attention. (As when 


we are doing one thing or listening to conversation 
and thinking of something else. Very likely, how- 
ever, what appear to be secondary trains of thought 
are often only alternating trains. I have, however, 
a considerable collection of data showing such con- 
comitant secondary trains in certain subjects (cf. 
Lecture VI). Such a train can be demonstrated to 
be a precisely differentiated "stream" of conscious- 
ness in absent-minded conditions, where it may con- 
stitute a veritable doubling of consciousness. 

Some of these marginal elements may be so dis- 
tinctly within the field of awareness that we are 
conscious of them, but dimly so.* Others, in par- 
ticular cases at least, may be so far outside and 
hidden in the twilight obscurity that the subject is 
not even dimly aware of them. In more technical 
parlance, we may say, they are so far dissociated 
that they belong to an ultra-marginal zone and are 
really subconscious. Evidence of their having been 
present can only be obtained through memories re- 
covered in hypnosis, abstraction, and by other meth- 
ods. These may be properly termed coconscious. 
Undoubtedly the degree of awareness for marginal 
elements, i. e., the degree of dissociation between 
the elements of the content of consciousness, varies 
at different moments in the same individual accord- 
ing to the degree of concentration of attention and 

* It is very doubtful whether vivid awareness is a matter of in- 
tensity because, among other reasons, subconscious ideas of which the 
individual is entirely unaware and elements in the fringe may have 
decided intensity. 


the character of the fixation, e. g., whether upon the 
environment or upon inner thoughts. It also varies 
much in different individuals. Therefore some per- 
sons lend themselves as more favorable subjects for 
the detection of marginal and ultra-marginal states 
than others. Furthermore, according to certain 
evidence at hand, there is, in some persons at least, 
a constant shifting or interchange of elements going 
on between the field of attention and the marginal 
and the ultra-marginal zone what is within the first 
at one moment is in the second, or is entirely sub- 
conscious, the next, and vice versa. 

Amnesia develops very rapidly for the contents 
of the twilight region, as I have already stated, and 
this renders their recognition difficult.* 

In favorable subjects memory of that portion of 
the content of consciousness which is commonly 
called the fringe can be recovered in abstraction and 
hypnosis. In these states valuable information can 
be obtained regarding the content of consciousness 
at any given previous moment,f and this informa- 
tion reveals that there were present in the fringe 
conscious states of which the subject was never 
aware, or of which he is later ignorant owing to 
amnesia. I have studied the fringe of conscious- 

* The development of amnesia seems to be inversely proportionate 
to the degree of awareness, provided there are no other dissociating 
factors, such as an emotional complex. 

f This is due to the well-known fact (demonstrated in a large 
variety of phenomena) that ideas dissociated from the personal con- 
sciousness awake may become synthesized as memories with this same 
consciousness in hypnosis. 


ness by this method in a number of subjects. A 
number of years ago a systematic study of the field 
of the content of consciousness outside the focus of 
awareness, including not only the fringe but what 
may be called the ultra-marginal (subconscious) 
zone, was made in a very favorable subject (Miss 
B.), and the general results were given in an ad- 
dress on the "Problems of Abnormal Psychol- 
ogy" * at the Congress of Arts and Sciences held in 
St. Louis (1904). I may be permitted to quote that 
summary here. The term "secondary conscious- 
ness" is used in this passage to designate the fringe 
and ultra-marginal (subconscious) zone. 

"A systematic examination was made of the per- 
sonal consciousness in hypnosis regarding the per- 
ceptions and content of the secondary conscious- 
ness during definite moments, of which the events 
were prearranged or otherwise known, the subject 
not being in absent-mindedness. It is not within 
the scope of an address of this sort to give the de- 
tails of these observations, but in this connection 
I may state briefly a summary of the evidence, re- 
serving the complete observation for future publi- 
cation. It was found that 

"1. A large number of perceptions visual, au- 
ditory, tactile, and thermal images, and sometimes 
emotional states occurred outside of the per- 
sonal consciousness and, therefore, the subject was 
not conscious of them when awake. The visual 

* See Proceedings, also The Psychological Review, March-May, 


images were particularly those of peripheral vision, 
such as the extra-conscious [marginal or ultra-mar- 
ginal] perception of a person in the street who was 
not recognized by the personal waking conscious- 
ness; and the perception of objects intentionally 
placed in the field of peripheral vision and not per- 
ceived by the subject, whose attention was held in 
conversation. Auditory images of passing car- 
riages, of voices, footsteps, etc., thermal images of 
heat and cold from the body were similarly found 
to exist extra-consciously, and to be entirely un- 
known to the personal waking consciousness. 

"2. As to the content of the concomittant (dis- 
sociated) ideas, it appeared, by the testimony of 
the hypnotic self, that as compared with those of 
the waking consciousness the secondary ideas were 
quite limited. They were, as is always the experi- 
ence of the subject, made up for the most part of 
emotions (e. g., annoyances), and sensations (vis- 
ual, auditory, and tactile images of a room, of par- 
ticular persons, people's voices, etc). They were 
not combined into a logical proposition, though in 
using words to describe them it is necessary to so 
combine them and therefore give them a rather arti- 
ficial character as 'thoughts.' It is questionable 
whether the word 'thoughts' may be used to de- 
scribe mental states of this kind, and the word was 
used by the hypnotic self subject to this qualifica- 
tion. Commonly, I should infer, a succession of such 
'thoughts' may arise, but each is for the most part 
limited to isolated emotions and sensorial images 


and lacks the complexity and synthesis of the wak- 
ing mentation. 

"3. The memories, emotions, and perceptions of 
which the subject is not conscious when awake are 
remembered in hypnosis and described. The 
thoughts of which the subject is conscious when 
awake are those which are concentrated on what she 
is doing. The others, of which she is not conscious, 
are a sort of side-thoughts. These are not logically 
connected among themselves, are weak, and have 
little influence on the personal (chief) train of 
thought. Now, although when awake the subject is 
conscious of some thoughts and not of others, both 
kinds keep running into one another and therefore 
the conscious and the subconscious are constantly 
uniting, disuniting, and interchanging. There is no 
hard and fast line between the conscious and the 
subconscious, for at times what belongs to one 
passes into the other, and vice versa. The waking 
self is varying the grouping of its thoughts all the 
time in such a way as to be continually including 
and excluding the subconscious thoughts. The per- 
sonal pronoun 'I,' or, when spoken to, 'you,' applied 
equally to her waking self and to her hypnotic self, 
but these terms were not applicable to her uncon- 
scious thoughts, which were not self-conscious. For 
convenience of terminology it was agreed to arbi- 
trarily call the thoughts of which the subject is con- 
scious when awake the waking consciousness, and 
the thoughts of which when awake she is not con- 
scious the secondary consciousness. In making this 


division the hypnotic self insisted most positively 
on one distinction, namely that the secondary con- 
sciousness was in no sense a personality. The pro- 
noun 7 could not be applied to it. In speaking of the 
thoughts of this second group of mental states alone, 
she could not say 'I felt this,' 'I saw that.' These 
thoughts were better described as, for the most part, 
unconnected, discrete sensations, impressions, and 
emotions, and were not synthesized into a person- 
ality. They were not, therefore, self-conscious. 
When the waking self was hypnotized, the resulting 
hypnotic self acquired the subconscious perceptions 
of the second consciousness; she then could say 'I/ 
and the hypnotic '/' included what were formerly 
' subconscious ' perceptions. In speaking of the sec- 
ondary personality by itself, then, it is to be under- 
stood that self-consciousness and personality are 
always excluded. This testimony was verified by 
test instances of subconscious perception of visual 
and auditory images of experiences occurring in 
my presence. 

"4. Part played by the secondary consciousness 
in (a) normal mentation. The hypnotic self testi- 
fied that the thoughts of the secondary conscious- 
ness do not form a logical chain. They do not have 
volition. They are entirely passive and have no 
direct control over the subject's voluntary actions. 

" (b) Part played by the secondary conscious- 
ness in absent-mindedness. (1) Some apparently 
absent-minded acts are only examples of amnesia. 
There is no doubling of consciousness at the time. 


It is a sort of continuous amnesia brought about by 
lack of attention. (2) In true absent-mindedness 
there does occur a division of consciousness along 
lines which allow a large field to, and relatively wide 
synthesis of the dissociated states. The personal 
consciousness is proportionately restricted. The 
subconscious thoughts may involve a certain amount 
of volition and judgment, as when the subject sub- 
consciously took a book from the table, carried it to 
the bookcase, started to place it on the shelf, found 
that particular location unsuitable, arranged a place 
on another shelf where the book was finally placed. 
No evidence, however, was obtained to show that 
the dissociated consciousness is capable of wider and 
more original synthesis than is involved in adapt- 
ing habitual acts to the circumstances of the mo- 

" (c) Solving problems by the secondary con- 
sciousness. [The statement of the hypnotic self re- 
garding the part played by the 'secondary con- 
sciousness' has already been given in Lecture 
VI, p. 167.] 

"The subject of these observations was at the 
time in good mental and physical condition. Criti- 
cism may be made that, the subject being one who 
had exhibited for a long time previously the phe- 
nomena of mental dissociation, she now, though for 
the time being recovered, tended to a greater dis- 
sociation and formation of subconscious states than 
does a normal person, and that the subconscious 
phenomena were therefore exaggerated. This is 


true. It is probable that the subconscious flora of 
ideas in this subject are richer than in the ordinary 
individual. These phenomena probably represent 
the extreme degree of dissociation compatible with 
normality. And yet, curiously enough, the evidence 
tended to show that the more robust the health of 
the individual, the more stable her mind, the richer 
the field of these ideas." 

Of course it is a question how far the findings 
in a particular and apparently specially favorable 
subject are applicable to people in general. I would 
say, however, that I have substantially confirmed 
these observations in another subject, B. C. A., when 
in apparent health. In this latter subject the rich- 
ness of the fringe and what may be called the ultra- 
marginal region in conscious states is very striking. 
The same is true of 0. N. (cf. Lecture VI, p. 174). 
Again in psychasthenics, suffering from attacks of 
phobia, association, or habit psycho-neuroses, etc., 
I have been able to recover, after the attack has 
passed off, memories of conscious states which dur- 
ing and preliminary to the attack were outside the 
focus of attention. Of some of these the subject 
had been dimly aware, and of some apparently en- 
tirely unaware (i. e., they were coconscious). For 
the former as well as the latter there followed com- 
plete amnesia, so that the subject was ignorant of 
their previous presence, and believed that the whole 
content of consciousness was included in the anxiety 
or other state which occupied the focus of attention. 
Consequently I am in the habit, when investigating 


a pathological case, like an obsession, of inquiring 
(by technical methods) into the fringe of attention 
and even the ultra-marginal region, and reviving 
the ideas contained therein, particularly those for 
which there is amnesia. My purpose has been to 
discover the presence of ideas or thoughts which 
as a setting would explain the meaning of the idea 
which was the object of fear (a phobia), the exciting 
cause of psycho-neurotic attacks, etc. To this I 
shall presently return. 

If all that I have said is true, it follows that the 
whole content or field of consciousness at any given 
moment includes not only considerably more than 
that which is within the field of attention but more 
than is within the field of awareness. The field of 
conscious states as a whole comprises the focus 
of attention plus the marginal fringe; and besides 
this there may be a true subconscious ultra-marginal 
field comprising conscious states of which the per- 
sonal consciousness is not even dimly aware. We 
may schematically represent the relations of the 
different fields by a diagram (Fig. 1). 

It will be noted that the field of conscious states 
includes A., B., and C. and is larger than that of 
awareness, which includes A. and B. The field of 
awareness is larger than that of attention (A.), but 
the focus of awareness coincides with the field of 
attention, or, as it is ordinarily termed, the focus of 
attention. Of course there is no sharp line of de- 
marcation between any of these fields, but a gradual 
shading from A. to D. Any such diagrammatic 



Fig. 1. A. Attention and focus of awareness. 

B. Fringe of awareness. 

C. Subconscious, i. e., coconscious states (ultramarginal). 

D. Unconscious processes. 

representation, although of help to those who like to 
visualize concepts, must give a false viewpoint; as 
in reality the relations are dynamic or functional, 
and the different fields more properly should be 
viewed as different but inter-related participants 
in a large dynamic mechanism. 

The meaning of ideas may be found in the fringe of con- 
sciousness Let us now return from this general sur- 
vey of the fringe of consciousness to our theme 
the setting which gives meaning to ideas. 

It is obvious that, theoretically, when I attend to 
the perceptive images of an idea, the meaning of 
that idea, not being in the focus of awareness, may 
be found among the conscious states that make up 
the fringe of the dynamic field. For instance, if 


my idea of a certain politician, my knowledge of 
whom, we will say, has been gained entirely from 
the newspapers, is that of a bad man a "crook" 
this meaning may be dimly in the fringe of my 
awareness. It is not necessary that any large part 
of this knowledge should be in the marginal zone 
of the content of consciousness but only a summary 
of all the knowledge I have acquired regarding him. 
The origin of this meaning a crook I can easily 
fincj^ ol T7 jassociative memories of what I have read. 
EL* mere would seem to be no need of all these to 
persist as a functioning setting a short summary 
in the form of an idea, secondary image, a word or 
symbol of a bad man would seem to be sufficient. 
The same principle is applicable to a large number 
of the simple images of objects in my environment 
a book, an electric lamp, a horse, etc. 

It is not easy with such normal ideas of every- 
day life to analyze the fringe and determine pre- 
cisely its contents. There is no sharp dividing line 
between the various zones the whole being a dy- 
namic system. The moment attention is directed 
to the marginal zones they become the focus and 
vice versa. To obtain accurate knowledge of the 
marginal zones we require individuals suitable for 
a special technique by which the constituents of 
these zones can be brought back as memory. 

For such purposes certain persons with pathologi- 
cal ideas (e. g., phobias)* are very favorable sub- 

* All pathological processes are only the normal under altered 


jects for various reasons not necessary to go 

Now, as respects the simple normal ideas of every- 
day life, such as I have just cited, a person can 
give very clearly his viewpoint. He has a very 
definite notion of the meaning of his perceptions and 
can give his reasons for them based on his associa- 
tive memories of past experiences which he can re- 
call. But in the conditions to which I am now re- 
ferring a person can give no explanation " a par- 
ticular viewpoint which may be of a very definite 
but unusual (abnormal) character. Nor can he re- 
call any experiences which would explain the origin 
of it. I have in mind particularly the obsessions. 

Now, according to my observations, we find in 
the marginal zones of the content of consciousness 
conscious elements which in particular cases may 
even give a hitherto unsuspected meaning to the 
pathological idea. I have found in these zones 
thoughts which gave meaning to emotions and other 
symptoms excited by apparently inadequate objects. 
Thus, in H. 0., attacks of recurrent nausea and fear 
almost prohibiting social intercourse were always 
due to thoughts of self-disgust hidden in the fringe. 

Let us take a concrete case, that of a person who 
has a pathological fear and who, as we know is often 
the case, can give no explanation of his viewpoint. 
The fear may be that of fainting, or of thunder- 
storms, of a particular disease, say cancer, or of 
so-called "unreality" attacks, or what not. This 
so-called "fear" is of course an idea of self or other 


object linked with, or which occasions as a reaction, 
the strong emotion of fear. It recurs in attacks 
which are excited by stimuli, of one kind or another, 
that are associated with the idea. The patient can 
give no explanation of the meaning of this idea that 
renders intelligible why it should occasion his fear. 
There is nothing in his consciousness, so far as he 
knows, which gives an adequate meaning to it. 

Thus, for example, C. D. was the victim of at- 
tacks of fear; the attacks were so intense that at 
times she had been almost a prisoner in her house, 
in dread of attacks away from home; and yet she 
was unable even after two prolonged searching ex- 
aminations to define the exact nature of the fear 
which was the salient feature of the attacks, or, from 
her ordinary memories, to give any explanation of 
its origin. She remembered many moments in the 
last twenty years when the fear had come upon her 
with great intensity, but she could not recall the 
date of its inception and, therefore, the conditions 
under which it originated; consequently nothing 
satisfactory could be elicited beyond an early his- 
tory of "anxiety attacks" or indefinable fear of 
great intensity attached to no specific idea that she 

As a result of searching investigation by technical 
methods it was brought out that the specific object 
of the fear was fainting. When an attack devel- 
oped, besides intense physiological disturbances 
and confusion of thought, there was in the content 
of consciousness a feeling that her mind was flying 


off into space and a definite thought of losing con- 
sciousness or fainting, and that she was going to 
faint. There was amnesia for these thoughts fol- 
lowing the attacks. She never had fainted in the 
attacks and, as it later transpired, had fainted only 
once in her life. Here then, dimly in the content of 
consciousness, was the object of the fear in an at- 
tack. But the object was afterwards forgotten; 
hence she could not explain what she was afraid of. 
Why fainting should be such a terrible accident to 
be feared she also could not explain. 

The question now was, what possible meaning 
could fainting have for her that she so feared it? 
This she did not know. 

Now, on still further investigation, I found that 
there was always in the fringe of consciousness dur- 
ing an attack and also during the anticipatory fear 
of an attack, an idea and fear of death. This, to 
use her expression, "was in the background of her 
mind"; it referred to impending fainting. It ap- 
peared then that in the fringe or ultra-marginal 
zone was the idea of death as the meaning of faint- 
ing. Of this she was never aware. It was really 
subconscious. It was the meaning of her idea of her- 
self fainting. In consequence of this meaning faint- 
ing was equivalent to her own death. She would not 
have been afraid of fainting if she had not believed 
or could have been made to believe that in her case 
it did not mean death. We might properly say that 
the real object of the fear was death. 

When this content of the fringe of attention was 


recovered, the patient voluntarily remarked that 
she had not been aware of the presence during the 
attacks of that idea, but now she remembered it 
clearly, and also realized plainly why she was afraid 
of fainting, what she had not understood before. 
(It must be borne in mind that this meaning of faint- 
ing, as a state equivalent to death, did not pertain to 
fainting in general but solely to herself. She knew 
perfectly well that fainting in other people was not 
dangerous; it was only an unrecognized belief re- 
garding a possible accident to herself.) Besides this 
content of the fringe of attention it was also easy to 
show that the fringe often included the thought (or 
idea) which had been the immediate excitant of each 
attack. Sometimes this stimulus-idea entered the 
focus of attention; sometimes it was only in the 
fringe. In either case there was apt to be amnesia 
for it, but it could always be recalled to memory in 
abstraction or hypnosis. 

The content of consciousness taken as a whole, 
i. e., to include both the focus and the fringe of at- 
tention, then would adequately determine the mean- 
ing of this subject's idea of fainting as applied to 

But why this meaning of fainting? It must have 
been derived from antecedent experiences. An idea 
can no more have a meaning without antecedent ex- 
periences with which it is or once was linked than 
can the word "parallelopipedon" have a geometri- 
cal meaning without a previous geometrical experi- 
ence, or * * Timbuctoo " a personal meaning without 


being set in a personal experience, whether of mis- 
sionaries or hymn-books. 

I will not take the time to give the detailed results 
of the investigation by hypnotic procedures that fol- 
lowed. I will merely summarize by stating that the 
fear of death from fainting was a recurrent memory, 
i. e., a recurrence of the content of consciousness of 
a moment during an incident that occurred more 
than twenty years before, when she was a young 
girl about 18 years of age. At the time as the result 
of a nervous shock she had fainted, and just before 
losing consciousness she definitely thought her 
symptoms meant death. At this thought she became 
frightened, and ever since she has been afraid of 
fainting. There was no conscious association be- 
tween her phobia and this youthful episode. When 
the memory of the latter was recovered she re- 
marked, ' ' I wonder why I never thought of that be- 
fore. ' ' 

But this again was not all. A searching investi- 
gation of the unconscious (residua) in deep hypno- 
sis revealed the fact that death from fainting was 
organized with still wider experiences involving a 
fear of death. At the moment of the nervous shock 
just before fainting (fancied as dying) she thought 
of her mother who was dangerously ill from cancer 
in an adjoining room, and a great fear swept over 
her at the thought of what might happen to her 
mother if she should hear of the cause of her (the 
patient's) nervous shock and of her death. It 
further transpired that the idea of death and fear of 


it were set in a still larger series of experiences.* It 
had, indeed, dated from a childhood experience when 
she was eight years of age. At that time she was 
frightened when a pet animal died and a fear of 
death had been more or less continuously present in 
her mind ever since, but not always consciously so ; 
meaning that it was sometimes in awareness and 
sometimes in the ultra-marginal zone of conscious- 
ness. She had been able to conceal the fear until the 
fainting episode occurred and, as she in hypnosis 
asserted, fear afterward had continued to be pres- 
ent more or less persistently, although she was 
not conscious of the fact when awake (excepting in 
the phobic attacks) and it had attached itself to va- 
rious ideas of intercurrent illnesses. But these 
ideas could all be reduced to two, fainting and 
cancer. Ever since her mother's illness and death 
she had a fear of death from cancer, believing she 
might inherit the disease. This thought and the 
fear it aroused had been constantly in her mind but 
never previously confessed. It was the real mean- 
ing of her fear of illness which had been conspicuous 
and puzzling to her physician. She had imagined 

* Among them was the following : A few months later her mother 
died. C. D. was in the room with the body, her back turned toward 
the bed where the body lay. Suddenly she was startled by the win- 
dow curtain blowing out of the window. The noise and the partial 
vision of the curtain gave her a start, for she thought the body had 
risen up in bed. At this point, while in hypnosis, C. D. remarked, 
"Ah! that explains the dream which I am always having. I am 
constantly having a frightful dream of my mother lying dead and 
rising up as a corpse from the bed. This dream always gives me a 
great terror." 


that each illness might mean cancer, but had suc- 
cessfully concealed this thought. The idea of death 
and the fear it excited had thus become constellated 
in a large unconscious complex derived from past 
experiences which included the fainting episode, her 
mother's death from cancer and the possibility of 
having cancer herself. This last was still con- 
sciously believed and was very real to her. 

Without pursuing further the details it is evident 
that although the meaning of fainting death was 
in the fringe of consciousness and subconscious, 
it had as a setting a large group of fear-inspiring 
experiences, more particularly those involving can- 
cer. But there was no conscious association between 
her fear of fainting and that of cancer. Of this set- 
ting, during a phobic attack, only the ideas of faint- 
ing and fear-inspiring death enter the various zones 
of consciousness. 

As to why this apparently unsophisticated idea of 
death still persisted in connection with that of faint- 
ing is another problem with which we are not con- 
cerned at this moment. We should have to consider 
more specifically the content of the setting in which, 
besides the cancer-belief, probably subconscious self- 
reproaches would be found. 

Meaning may be the conscious elements of a function- 
ing larger subconscious complex. However, whatever 
be its conscious constituents, obviously mean- 
ing must be derived from antecedent experi- 
ences and without such experiences no idea can 


have meaning. If, then, antecedent experiences 
determine the meaning of the idea, it is theoretically 
possible, particularly with insistent ideas, that the 
conscious elements involved in meaning are, with 
many ideas at least, only part and parcel of a larger 
complex which is for the most part unconscious. 
That is to say, a portion of this complex perhaps 
the larger portion represented by the residua of past 
experiences would, under this hypothesis, be un- 
conscious while certain elements would arise in con- 
sciousness as the meaning of a given idea. Under 
such conditions a hidden subconscious process would 
really determine the conscious setting which gives 
the meaning. The whole setting would be partly 
conscious and partly hidden in the unconscious. 
Such a mechanism may be roughly likened to that of 
a clock, so far as concerns the relation of the chimes 
and hands to the works concealed inside the case. 
Though the visible hands and the audible chimes ap- 
pear to indicate the time, the real process at work is 
that of the hidden mechanism. To inhibit the chime 
or regulate the time rate the mechanism must be al- 
tered. And so with an insistent idea : The uncon- 
scious part of the complex setting must be altered to 
alter the meaning of the idea. Of course the analogy 
must not be carried too far as in the case of the clock 
the chimes and hands are only epiphenomena, while 
conscious ideas are elements in the functioning 

Such a theory would afford an adequate explana- 
tion of the psychogenesis and mechanism of certain 


pathological ideas such as the phobia of C. D. At 
any rate, it is plain that an explanation of such ideas 
must be sought, on the one hand, in their meanings 
and in the antecedent experiences to which they are 
related, and, on the other, in the processes which de- 
termine their insistency or fixation. 

The facts which support this theory, to which our 
studies have led us, we will take up for consideration 
in our next lecture. 



In our last lecture we were led to two conclusions : 

(1) that the conscious elements which are the mean- 
ing of an idea may be in the marginal zones; and 

(2) more important, that ''meaning" may be only 
a part of a larger setting of antecedent experiences, 
which is an unconscious complex. 

Let us now consider the further question raised 
in the theory finally proposed ; namely, whether the 
submerged elements of a complex remain quies- 
cent or whether, in some cases at least, this por- 
tion functions subconsciously and takes part as an 
active factor in the whole process by which the 
meaning of an idea and its accompanying emotional 
tone invades the content of consciousness. If the 
latter be true, a hidden subconscious process would, 
according to the theory (to repeat what was pre- 
viously said), really determine the conscious setting 
which gives the meaning. Such a mechanism was 
roughly likened to that of a clock. If such were the 
mechanism in insistent ideas, obsessions, and impul- 
sions, it would, as I have intimated, explain their 
insistency, their persisting recurrence, the difficulty 



in modifying them, notwithstanding the subject 
realizes their falsity, the point of view often inex- 
plicable to the subject, and the persistence of the 
affect. There is a constant striving of affective sub- 
conscious processes, when stimulated, to carry them- 
selves to fulfilment. Consequently as we know from 
numerous observations, the feelings and emotions 
(pleasantness and unpleasantness, exaltation and 
depression; fear, anger, etc.) pertaining to subcon- 
scious processes tend to emerge into consciousness;* 
and likewise ideational constituents of the process 
often emerge into the fringe of the content of con- 
sciousness and even the focus of awareness. Given 
such a subconsciously functioning setting to an idea, 
it would necessarily tend by the impulsive force of 
its emotion to make the latter insistent, and resist 
the inhibiting control of the personal consciousness. 

In the case of C. D., cited in the last lecture, we 
were led to the conclusion, as the result of analysis, 
that her insistent phobia might be due to the impul- 
sive force of such subconscious complexes. The 
whole problem is a very difficult one, dealing 
as we are with complicated mechanisms and such 
elusive and fluid factors as conscious and subcon- 
scious processes. It is useless, therefore, to attempt 
to formulate the mechanisms with anything like sci- 
entific exactness. 

It must be borne in mind, further, that the 
method of analysis (employed with C. D.), meaning 

* Janet: The Mental States of Hystericals, pp. 289-290. Prince: 
The Dissociation, pp. 132-5, 262, 297-8, 324-5, 497. 


thereby the bringing to light associated memories 
of past experiences, cannot positively demonstrate 
that those experiences take part as the causal fac- 
tor in a present process. It can demonstrate the 
sequence of mental events, and, therefore, each suc- 
cessive link in a chain of evidence leading to the 
final act; or it can demonstrate the material out of 
which we can select with a greater or less degree 
of probability the factor which, in accordance with 
a theory in this case that of subconscious processes 
seems most likely to be the causal factor. Thus in 
the analysis of a bacterial culture we can select the 
one which seems on various considerations to be the 
most likely cause of an etiologically undetermined 
disease, but for actual demonstration we must em- 
ploy synthetic methods; that is, actually reproduce 
the disease by inoculation with a bacterium. So 
with psychological processes synthetic methods are 
required for positive demonstration. 

We have available synthetic methods in hypnotic 
procedures. These give, it seems to me, positive re- 
sults of value. If a subject is hypnotized and in this 
state a complex is formed, it will be found that this 
complex will determine, after the subject is awak- 
ened, the point of view and therefore the meaning of 
the central idea when it comes into consciousness, 
and this though the subject has complete amnesia 
for the hypnotic experience. In this manner, if the 
idea is one which previously had a very definite and 
undesirable meaning which we wish to eradicate, we 


can organize a complex which shall include that 
idea and yet give it a very different meaning, pro- 
vided it is one acceptable to the subject. 

To take simple examples, and to begin with a hy- 
pothetical case, but one which in practice I have fre- 
quently duplicated : A subject is hypnotized and al- 
though, in fact, the day is a beautifully fair one we 
point out that it is really disagreeable because the 
sunshine is glowing and hot; that such weather 
means dusty roads, drought, the drying up of the 
water supply, the withering of the foliage, that the 
country needs rain, etc. We further assert that this 
will be the subject's point of view. In this way we 
form a cluster of ideas as a setting to the weather 
which gives it, fair as it is, an entirely different and 
unpleasant meaning and one which is accepted. The 
subject is now awakened and has complete amnesia 
for the hypnotic experience. When attention is di- 
rected to the weather it is found that his point of 
view, for the time being at least, is changed from 
what it was before being hypnotized. The percep- 
tion of the clear sky and the sunlight playing upon 
the ground includes secondary images of heat, of 
dust, of withered foliage, etc., such as have been 
previously experienced on disagreeable, hot, dusty 
days, and some of the associated thoughts with their 
affects suggested in hypnosis arise in consciousness ; 
perhaps only a few, but, if he continues to think 
about the weather, perhaps many. Manifestly the 
new setting formed in hypnosis has been switched 
into association with the conscious perceptions of 


the environment and has induced the secondary im- 
ages and associated thoughts, emotions, and feelings 
which give meaning. But it is equally manifest, 
though many elements bubble up, so to speak, from 
the unconscious setting into consciousness, that most 
of this setting remains submerged in the uncon- 

In similar fashion I made a subject regard, meta- 
phorically speaking, as a cesspool for sewage a river 
which was being converted into a beautiful water 
park by a dam.* It is scarcely necessary to cite 
additional observations. 

Manifestly such phenomena belong to the well- 
known class of so-called "suggested post-hypnotic 
phenomena." These we have already seen (solu- 
tion of problems predetermined actions, &c., Lec- 
ture VI) require the postulate of a subconscious 
process. It is therefore difficult to resist the conclu- 
sion that, when the suggested phenomenon is the 
"meaning" of an idea, this also involves a subcon- 
scious process that a hypnotically organized set- 
ting functioning subconsciously ejects the meaning 
into consciousness. In other words, the unconscious 
setting is a part of the whole "psychosis" or com- 
plex, a factor in the functioning mechanism; it is 
dynamic and not merely static, and is a func- 
tioning part of the "psychic whole" of the given 
ideas (sign, perception, and meaning). To use the 
analogy of the clock, the unconscious part of the 

* The Unconscious, Journal Abnormal Psychology, April-May, 


complex corresponds in a way to the works and de- 
termines what shall appear in consciousness. In the 
case of the ideas of everyday life, and particularly 
of pathological insistent ideas, unconscious com- 
plexes can be shown, by methods of analysis and by 
interpretation, to be existent and to be settings. We 
therefore infer that they similarly take part in the 
functioning process of ideation. But, as I have said, 
as any idea has many different settings and asso- 
ciated complexes, it is difficult to determine by this 
method with positiveness which setting or other 
complex, if any, is in activity and takes part in the 
process. Hence the different theories that have been 
offered to explain the precise psychogenesis of in- 
sistent ideas. 

Therapeutic application By similar procedures in a 
very large number of instances, for therapeutic 
purposes, I have changed the setting, the viewpoint, 
and the meaning of ideas without any realization on 
the patient's part of the reason for this change. 
This is the goal of psychotherapy, and in my judg- 
ment the one fundamental principle common to all 
technical methods of such treatment, different as 
these methods appear to be when superficially con- 

It is obvious that in everyday life when by argu- 
ments, persuasion, suggestion, punishment, exhorta- 
tion, or prayer we change the viewpoint of a person, 
we do so by building up. complexes which shall act 
as settings and give new meanings to his ideas. I 


may add, if we wish to sway him to carry this new 
viewpoint to fulfilment through action we introduce 
into the complex an emotion which by the driving 
force of its impulses shall carry the ideas to prac- 
tical fruition. This is the art of the orator in sway- 
ing audiences to his views. Shakespeare has given 
us a classic example in Marc Antony's speech to the 
Koman populace. 

The practical application to therapeutics of these 
principles of rearranging the setting of a perception 
by artificial complex building may be seen from the 
following actual case, which I have already cited in 
previous contributions.* 

I suggest to B. C. A. in hypnosis ideas of well- 
being, of recovery from her infirmity; I picture a 
future roseate with hope, stimulate her ambitions 
with suggestions of duties to be performed, deeds 
to be accomplished. With all this there goes an 
emotional tone of exaltation which takes the place 
of the depression and of the sense of failure previ- 
ously present. This emotional tone gives increased 
energy to her organization, revitalizing, as it were, 
her psycho-physiological processes [and by conflict 
represses the previously dissociating affect and sen- 
timent] . The whole I weave artfully and designedly 
into a complex. Whatever neurotic symptoms were 
previously present I do not allow to enter this com- 
plex. Indeed, the complex is such that they are in- 

* Morton Prince: (Psychotherapeutics; A Symposium. Richard 
G. Badger, Boston, 1910.) Also The Unconscious, Journal of Abnor- 
mal Psychology, April-May, and June-July, 1909. 


compatible with it. The headache, nausea, and other 
bodily discomforts, pure functional disturbances in 
this instance, are dissociated and cease to torment. 
After "waking" there is complete amnesia for the 
complex. Yet it is still organized, for it can be re- 
covered again in hypnosis. It is simply dormant. 
But the emotional tone still persists after waking, 
and invades the personal synthesis, which takes on 
a correspondingly ecstatic tone. The aspect of her 
environment, her conception of her relation to the 
world and her past, present, and future mental life 
have become colored, so to speak, by the new feeling, 
as if under a new light. But, more than this, new 
syntheses have been formed with new tones. If we 
probe deep enough we find that many ideas of the 
dormant complex have, through association with the 
environment (point de repere), become interwoven 
with those of the previous personal consciousness 
and given all a new meaning. A moment ago [her 
view was that] she was an invalid, incapacitated, ex- 
iled from her social and family life, etc. What was 
there to look forward to ! Now : What of that? She 
is infinitely better ; what a tremendous gain ; at such 
a rate of progress in a short time a new life will be 
open to her, etc. a radically new point of view. 
Now, too, she feels buoyant with health and energy, 
ready to start afresh on her crusade for health and 
life. Her neurotic symptoms have vanished. Such 
is the change that she gratefully speaks of it as the 
work of a wizard. But the mechanism of the trans- 
formation is simple enough. The exaltation, artifi- 


cially suggested in hypnosis, persists, altering the 
trend of her ideas and giving new energy. The per- 
ceptions of her environment, cognition of herself, 
etc., have entered into new syntheses which the in- 
troduction of new ideas, new points of view have 
developed ; thus the content of her ideas has taken a 
definite, precise shape. Whence came these new 
ideas T They seem to her to have come miraculously, 
for she has forgotten the hypnotic complex. But 
forgetting an experience is not equivalent to its not 
having happened, or to that experience not having 
been a part of one 's own psychic life. The hypnotic 
consciousness remains a part of one's self (as a 
neurographic complex), however absolutely we have 
lost awareness of it. Its experiences become fixed, 
though dormant, just as do the experiences of our 
personal conscious life. The mechanism is the same. 
The following letter from this patient, received 
by chance after these paragraphs were written, well 
expresses the psychological conditions following 
hypnotic suggestion: 

"Something has happened to me I have a new point of view. 
I don't know what has changed me so all at once, but it is as if 
scales had fallen from my eyes; I see things differently. That 

affair at L was nothing to be ashamed of, Dr. Prince. I 

showed none of the common sense which I really possess ; I regret 
it bitterly; but I was not myself, and even as [it was] I did noth- 
ing to be ashamed of quite the contrary, indeed. . . . Any- 
way, for some reason I don't know why, but perhaps you do I 
have regained my own self-respect and find to my amazement that 
I need never have lost it. You know what I was a year ago 
you know what I am now not much to be proud of, perhaps; 


but I am the work of your hands, and a great improvement on 
[my poor old self]. I owe you what is worth far more than life 
itself . . . namely, the desire to live. You have given me life 
and you have given me something to fill it with ... I feel 
more like myself than for a long time. I am 'my own man 
again,' so to say, and if you keep me and help me a little longer 
I shall be well." 

In interpreting the phenomena it must be remem- 
bered that in such suggestive experiments the sub- 
ject after waking has complete amnesia for the 
whole hypnotic experience, for all the ideas which 
were organized into the complex to form the set- 
ting. And yet this viewpoint, in spite of this am- 
nesia, is that which was suggested, and he does not 
know why his view has changed. That a large frac- 
tion of the hypnotic complex (or setting) remains 
submerged in the unconscious can be readily shown. 
The only question is whether it becomes an active 
subconscious process out of which certain elements 
emerge as meaning into consciousness. 

The setting in obsessions This question of the func- 
tioning of unconscious complexes as subconscious 
processes is of fundamental importance for psy- 
chology, whether normal or abnormal, and if well es- 
tablished gives an entirely new aspect to its prob- 
lems. We cannot therefore be too exacting in de- 
manding proof for the postulation of subconscious 
processes as part of the mechanisms we are consid- 
ering, or, at least, requiring sufficient evidence to 
justify them as a reasonable theory. If assumed as 


an hypothesis many otherwise obscure phenomena 
become intelligible by one or other theory making 
use of them. 

Let us examine for a moment the obsessions as 
one of the most important problems with which ab- 
normal psychology has to deal, and which offer 
themselves as exaggerated examples of ideas with 
insistent meanings. The phenomena are psycho- 
logical and physical. They occur in a sporadic form, 
as well as in a recurring obsessional form. Let us 
consider them simply as phenomena irrespective of 
recurrence. They may be arranged by gradations 
in types in which they appear : 

A, as purely physical disturbances ; 

B, as physical disturbances plus conscious emo- 

C, as physical disturbances plus conscious emo- 
tion plus a specific idea of the object of the emotion, 
but without logical meaning; 

D, as physical disturbances plus emotion plus idea 
plus meaning. 

In the first type the physical phenomena (such 
as commonly attend emotion) can be traced to a 
functioning subconscious emotional complex of 
which the phenomena are physical manifestations; 
in the second to a functioning subconscious complex 
ejecting its emotion into consciousness. In the third 
we find by analysis an associated unconscious com- 
plex (setting), which logically would account for the 
emotion of the obsessing idea, and infer, by analogy 
with A and B, that it is a dynamic factor in the 


psychosis. In the fourth we find a similar complex, 
which logically would account for all the physical 
and conscious phenomena. 

Type A : The following observation may be cited 
as an example. At the conclusion of some experi- 
ments, made on one subject in the presence of an- 
other patient and while conversing socially at after- 
noon tea, I noticed that the subject manifested 
marked tremor of the hands to such an extent that 
the cup in her hand shook and rattled in its saucer. 
She herself commented on the fact, and laughingly 
remarked that she did not know what was the mat- 
ter with her; at times she would "get awfully hot 
all over and would break out in perspiration. ' ' She 
could give no explanation of this phenomenon which 
had not been present before the experiments were 
begun. The subject was now put into deep hypnosis, 
in a state in which communication was obtained only 
by writing, and thereby the subconscious tapped. 
Without going into all the details, the sum and sub- 
stance of the information obtained in this hypnotic 
state was this: coconscious images (pictures), of 
which she was not consciously aware, kept coming 
and going ; these were the coconscious phenomena I 
have previously described (p. 169). When certain 
images appeared coconsciously the tremor devel- 
oped, and when others appeared the tremor ceased ; 
when still others appeared there were vasomotor 
disturbances and perspiration as well as tremor. 

The images as I interpret them were the sec- 


ondary images belonging to subconscious ideas or 
processes.* To understand the conditions in this in- 
stance it will be necessary to explain certain ante- 
cedent facts. I had arranged to make certain hyp- 
notic and other experiments on two patients in the 
presence of each other. The one in question, the 
subject of this observation, hesitated to have them 
made on herself in the presence of a second person, 
fearing lest the various subconscious phenomena 
which she exhibited would be regarded as stigmata 
and she be thought " queer." Each, of course, 
wished to see the experiments on the other. The 
subject in question had for a long time been rather 
obsessed with the insistent foolish idea that if 
people knew she manifested these phenomena they 
would not care to know her socially. It was a 
point of view which had been more or less obsti- 
nately maintained in spite of all contradictory argu- 
ments. The idea had specifically recurred from time 
to time in particular situations, and had caused con- 
siderable emotional disturbance. If not a true ob- 
session it was close to one. Nevertheless she wanted 
to take part both for the object of seeing the ex- 
periments and also of meeting the second patient. 
Still there were anxious doubts and scruples in her 
mind arising from her desire, on the one hand, and 
a fear, on the other, that it was a social mistake to 
do so. This had been going on during several days 
and had been even the subject of correspondence, 
discussions, etc. It was only at the last moment 

*See p. 178, Lecture VI. 


that she could screw up her courage to take part in 
the experiments. 

Finally the experiments were made, with the re- 
sult as above stated. Now the coconscious images 
which were accompanied by the tremors, etc., were 
pictures of herself, of the second patient, and of 
myself. These images coming and going seemed, 
as in a pantomime, to symbolize her previous 
thoughts. Sometimes the image of the second pa- 
tient turned away from the subject, sometimes the 
three images were present, but the one of the subject 
stood apart from the others as if an outcast, and in 
both these latter cases particularly she would shake 
with tremor, and would "get awfully hot all over," 
and break out in perspiration. Then apparently 
reassuring pictures would come and the tremor 
would cease. 

Besides these coconscious images there was a 
train of coconscious thought of which she was not 
personally aware. There was the thought that per- 
haps, after all, it was a mistake to have taken part 
in the experiments, as X, the second patient, was 
not a physician, and her wish to see the subject 
hypnotized must have been largely curiosity. Of 
this train of thought the subject was not aware. 
At the same time concurrently there was in her per- 
sonal consciousness the "thought that she liked X, 
that it was very good of her to have come, and 
awfully kind of you to take your time to conduct the 
experiments." There was also a conscious emotion 
of pleasure and something akin to hope, and nerv- 


ousness at the situation. By contrast coconsciously 
there was a greater feeling of nervousness and the 
emotion of fear of which she was not consciously 
aware. By a few appropriate suggestions all these 
phenomena were made to disappear. 

It would take us too long and be too much of a 
digression to go more deeply into these subcon- 
scious phenomena. From what has been given, 
which is corroborated by a large number of observa- 
tions of the same sort, it seems to me we are justi- 
fied in concluding that the physical manifestations 
of emotion (tremor, etc.) in the instance were de- 
termined by subconscious processes which were the 
functioning residua of antecedent thoughts with 
their emotions. 

But more than this these antecedent thoughts 
were obsessing ideas of self-abasement, i. e., of her- 
self as a person who socially was stamped with a 
stigma and, therefore, as a sort of outcast. These 
thoughts had formed one setting to the actual situ- 
ation in which she found herself. The subconscious 
complex, therefore, contained a perception plus the 
meaning of the situation plus emotion; in other 
words, the whole of the psychosis including the af- 
fect was subconscious in that none of its elements 
emerged into consciousness. Another and rival per- 
ception of the situation was that which was actually 
in consciousness and which has been described. The 
physical phenomena were the manifestation of the 
subconscious affect and would have been equally 
manifested if the affect had become conscious. In 


such a case, then, we may say the whole of one set- 
ting actually functions subconsciously. 

The case of H. 0. is the same in principle as I in- 
terpret it, but is distinguished by the fact that the 
dissociation of processes was not so extreme. The 
obsessing idea was in the ultramarginal zone of con- 
sciousness and, to this extent, subconscious. Briefly 
stated, H. 0. for many years was the victim of an 
intense obsession, in consequence of which she had 
practically foregone social life, and found herself 
unable to travel for fear she would be afflicted with 
her psychosis in trains, etc. The physical symptom 
was intense nausea suddenly arising as an attack. 
When attacked with this there developed also de- 
pression and a mental state which is perhaps best 
described as a mood. She could give no explanation 
of the attacks. On examination it developed that 
always in the ''background of her mind," just pre- 
ceding the attack, there came the idea of disgust of 
self. At once the nausea as the physical expression 
of disgust was experienced. The disgust-idea was 
always excited by some associated stimulus. The 
meaning of this "sentiment" was set in a large com- 
plex of past experiences. Into all this I will not go. 
The point is that the only conscious elements of her 
obsession were in the extreme fringe of conscious- 
ness, sufficiently dissociated to be practically cocon- 
scious,* but the physical symptoms were distress- 
ingly prominent. Relief was easily effected simply 

* Memory of them could only be obtained in abstraction and 


by organizing a new complex giving a new point of 
view of self. 

Complexes consisting entirely of the physiological 
manifestations of emotion without conscious emo- 
tion undoubtedly occur. A long time ago I de- 
scribed such a neurosis under the name of Fear 
Neurosis * in distinction from psychosis. The symp- 
tom complex was interpreted as a persisting autom- 
atism derived from antecedent fear states that had 
been outgrown. From our present standpoint and 
fuller knowledge we must believe that underlying 
this automatism is probably an unconscious complex 
of these antecedent experiences including the fear 
which takes part in the functioning mechanism. It 
may be called, then, a subconscious psychosis. 

True hysterical laughter and crying are undoubt- 
edly phenomena of this type and due to the same 
mechanism. These phenomena are well known to be 
purely automatic ; that is to say, they are emotional 
manifestations unaccompanied in consciousness by 
thoughts or even by emotions corresponding to 
them. The subject laughs or cries without knowing 
why and without even feeling merry or sad. I for- 
bear to digress sufficiently to present the evidence 
for the interpretation that the phenomena are due 
to subconscious processes of the kind just described. 
Let me merely say that in one instance, N. 0., in- 
tensely studied, the automatic crying was traced by 
experimental and clinical methods to a persisting 

* Fear Neurosis, Boston Med. and Surg. Journal, September 28, 


and often insistent subconscious childhood's percep- 
tion and meaning of self as a lonely, unhappy child. 
This perception, etc., could be differentiated from 
the conscious perception belonging to adult age. 

Numerous observations of emotional phenomena 
similar in principle have been recorded in the case 
of Miss B.* These observations included automatic 
facial expressions of pleasure, anger, and fear. 
These expressions could always be traced to sub- 
conscious processes and in this case to actual ideas 
of a coconscious personality. But the principle is 
the same. Sometimes the affect linked to the process 
wetted up into consciousness and sometimes it did 
not. When, in the case of Miss B., the automatic 
phenomena were determined by coconscious ideas it 
was because the perceptions of the secondary sub- 
conscious personality had a humorous, angry, or 
fear setting, as the case might be. These particular 
observations are of especial interest because they 
allow us to clearly distinguish at almost one and the 
same moment the different manifestations corre- 
sponding to the different settings with which the 
same idea may be clustered. While, for instance, 
the personal consciousness of Miss B. perceived a 
person or situation with apprehension and mani- 
fested this apprehension in her facial expression as 
well as verbally, the subconscious perception of the 
same person or situation was one of joy which broke 
through Miss B.'s apprehensive feature in auto- 

* The Dissociation, see index, ' ' Subconscious Ideas, ' ' and ' ' Sub- 
conscious Self." 


matic smiles. In other words, two different percep- 
tions (with opposite meanings) of one and the same 
object functioned at the same time. 

These observations, as interpreted, are of wider 
significance in that they allow us to understand 
the mechanism of many phenomena of everyday 
life. For instance, the hysteria of crowds may be 
explained on the same principle; likewise the out- 
break of emotional physical manifestations in a per- 
son whose attention is absorbed (abstraction and dis- 
traction) in reading or hearing something (e. g., at 
a play), which, it may be inferred, touches some in- 
ner emotional experience of his life. In the kind of 
instance I have in mind introspection fails to reveal 
the presence of conscious thoughts or sometimes 
even emotions which adequately explain the physical 
disturbance. When not abstracted by the reading or 
play, the same ideas he was attending to a moment 
before fail to excite these disturbances. 

As has been said, "everyone is a little hysterical," 
meaning that under certain conditions particu- 
larly those of stress and strain and strong emotion 
the mind becomes a bit disintegrated, and uncon- 
scious complexes manifest themselves through what 
are called hysterical symptoms. 

Type B : In this class the subject is afflicted with 
attacks of conscious emotion, most conspicuously 
and commonly fear, plus the same physical dis- 
turbances as in type A, but without any specific idea 
in consciousness to which the emotion is related. 


When we examine certain favorable subjects like 
Miss B., B. C. A., H. 0. and 0. N., in whom memories 
of subconscious processes can be obtained by tech- 
nical procedures, specific coconscious ideas can be 
demonstrated during the attacks of fear. These 
ideas are those of fear of some specific object. The 
emotion pertaining to these ideas alone emerges 
into consciousness, the subject remaining unaware 
of the ideas themselves. In the case of Miss B. 
numerous observations of this kind were recorded.* 
When the obsessing fear constantly recurs it is a 
so-called "anxiety neurosis/' f as I interpret the 

A typically perfect example of anxiety neurosis 
was the recurring attacks of intense anxiety accom- 
panied by a feeling of suffocation and oppression 
of the chest experienced by one of my subjects. In- 
vestigation disclosed that the first attack imme- 
diately followed a dream which was forgotten, but 
recovered in hypnosis. It appeared that in the 
dream she was accused by a certain person of cer- 
tain delinquencies and threatened with exposure. At 
this point in the dream she was overcome with fear 
and anguish as in the after attacks. It also appeared 
that previously she had been and still was apprehen- 
sive of this person's loyalty. By inference and 
analogy with the well-established after-phenomena 
of dreams (p. 101), we must assume that the dream 

* The Dissociation, loc. cit. 
t Ibid., p. 132. 


process still functioned subconsciously and pro- 
duced the anxiety attacks.* 

In this connection it is well to notice that it is 
a common observation that not only the affect of 
emotion but that of feeling also may emerge from 
the subconscious into consciousness and color the 
attitude of the personal consciousness. This may 
be demonstrated by hypnotic procedures. "When in 
hypnosis complexes of ideas with strong feeling 
tones, whether of pleasure or displeasure, of exalta- 
tion or depression, are suggested, the subject after 
awakening experiences these same feeling tones 
which dominate the personality. The subject then 
feels pleasantly exalted or unpleasantly depressed, 
as the case may be, without knowing the reason 
why. In alternating personalities the same phe- 
nomena may sometimes be observed. In the case 
of Miss B. the feeling tones which dominated the 
one personality invaded the consciousness of the 
other personality, often causing considerable dis- 
tress after the alternation had occurred and al- 
though there was amnesia for all that had gone be- 
fore.f Thus BIV complained of the feelings of de- 
pression from which BI shortly before had suf- 
fered, although her own ideas were far from being 
of a depressing nature. This depression welled up 

* It is worth noting that this interpretation is supported by the 
therapeutic result. The attacks completely and quickly ceased after 
the setting to her apprehensive idea was so altered, by one single 
explanation, that she no longer feared the loyalty of her friend. 

t The Dissociation, pp. 262, 297, 298 and 324, 325, 497; also The 
Unconscious, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, April-May, 1909. 


from the unconscious. It was in consequence of this 
phenomenon that BIV wrote : " BI 's constant griev- 
ing wears on my nerves. It is harder to endure 
than one would believe possible. I would rather 
give and take with Sally a thousand times rather." 
Likewise when a subject has feelings of unpleasant- 
ness and depression which he cannot explain it is 
easy in certain subjects to demonstrate the concur- 
rence of coconscious ideas with these feeling tones. 
The affect in such cases emerges into consciousness, 
though the subject is unaware of the coconscious 
ideas. Correspondingly the feelings may be those 
of pleasantness and exaltation. The demonstration 
of coconscious processes as the sources of the con- 
scious feelings of course can only be made in sub- 
jects in whom memories of coconscious processes 
can be evoked. In such subjects I have observed 
the phenomena on almost numberless occasions. But 
it can be provoked in almost any good hypnotic sub- 
ject. To awake pleasurable and exalting feelings, 
to substitute them for their opposite when such are 
present, belongs to therapeutic art. The skillful 
therapeutist endeavors to provoke the former by the 
various procedures at his command. The important 
principle underlying such procedures is that the 
feeling tones pertaining to ideas may still invade the 
personal consciousness after the ideas have become 
dormant in the unconscious. 

This principle, it seems to me, is of far-reaching 
application. The persistence of the feeling tone in 
a pleasant or unpleasant mental attitude after the 


experience giving rise to it has become dormant is 
observed in everyday life and can be explained on 
this principle. We have an exalting experience, en- 
gage in a spirited game of tennis, watch an exciting 
football match, or take part in an exhilarating dance. 
For the remainder of the day or the next day we 
still experience all the stimulating pleasurable feel- 
ing, even though in the cares of our vocation the 
memories of the previous experiences have remained 
dormant, not having once been called to mind. The 
only difference between such experiences of every- 
day life and those of hypnosis is that in one case we 
can, if we will, recall the origin of the feeling and in 
the other we cannot. In both we do not.* 

Dormant dream complexes may give rise to simi- 
lar phenomena. In a minor way everyone, probably, 
has experienced the persistence of the emotional ef- 
fects of a dream after waking and after the memory 
of the dream has vanished. More commonly, of 
course, the dream is remembered, but in the cases 
of people who do not remember their dreams the 
phenomenon is precise. B. C. A., for example, does 
not as a rule remember her dreams, but neverthe- 
less frequently awakes in a state of anxiety or exal- 
tation which has considerable persistency. In 
hypnosis the dream which gives rise to the emo- 
tional state is recovered. 

In pathological conditions these post-hypnotic, 
hysterical, dream, and other phenomena suggest, 

* Prince: The Unconscious, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 
April-May and June-July, 1909. 


among other questions, whether in depressive and 
excited psychoses the affective element is not derived 
from submerged unconscious complexes. Melan- 
cholias, for example, may in some cases at least de- 
rive their feeling tone from such complexes. 

(Obsessions Continued) 

Type C: In this type the affect is linked with an 
idea as its object in consciousness but without mean- 
ing, so that whenever this idea is awakened it is 
accompanied by the affect alone. Some of the pho- 
bias are the most common pathological exemplars. 
Nor is there anything in the content of conscious- 
ness which gives meaning to the idea as something 
that should occasion anxiety. The subject, in other 
words, does not know why he is afraid of the given 
object. In such cases the restoration of dormant 
memories will disclose antecedent experiences in 
which the idea is set and which explains the origin 
and meaning of the fear. Here again we have the 
principle shown in a clear cut way in conditions of 
alternating personality. For instance take the case 
of Miss B. An emotion, apparently paradoxical, 
would be aroused in BIV in connection with a 
strange person or place, or in consequence of a 
reference by some one to an unknown event. BIV, 
without apparent reason, would feel an intense emo- 
tion in connection with something or other which 



she did not remember to have ever heard or seen 
before. A face, a name, a particular locality where 
she happened to find herself would arouse a strong 
emotional effect without her knowing the reason. 
The memories of the experiences to which these 
emotions belonged were a part of BPs life and 
could easily be recalled by her when the personali- 
ties again alternated and BI came into existence. 
When BIV came again these experiences, of course, 
would be forgotten and become dormant, but the 
emotions associated with the visual, auditory, and 
other images of a given person or place, or what- 
ever it might be, would be liable to be aroused in 
her by the perception, in spite of the amnesia, when- 
ever the given person or place, as it might be, came 
into her daily life. Here the conscious content of 
the psychosis consists of perception plus affect with- 
out meaning. 

I formerly was inclined to interpret such para- 
doxical emotions on the principle of the simple link- 
ing of an affect to a perception. But when we con- 
sider that, on the reversion of the personality to 
BI the perception, meaning, and affect still re- 
mained organized as a conscious psychic whole, it is 
much more probable that the meaning took part as 
a subconscious process in the mechanism of BIV's 
emotional psychosis and was responsible for the 
paradox. In the case of recurrent fears the ante- 
cedent experiences which contain their meaning are 
conserved as unconscious complexes. The psycho- 
sis differs clinically from types A and B only in 


that another conscious element has been added, 
viz.: the idea of an object of the fear. It is con- 
sistent therefore to infer that the unconscious com- 
plexes are a submerged part of the mechanism by 
which the affect is maintained in association with 
the object. The conscious and the subconscious 
form a psychic whole. 

As an instance let us take the following case of 
phobia. It was ostensibly one of church-steeples 
and towers of any kind. The patient, a woman 
about forty years of age, dreaded and tried in con- 
sequence to avoid the sight of one. When she passed 
by such a tower she was very strongly affected emo- 
tionally, experiencing always a feeling of terror 
or anguish accompanied by the usual marked physi- 
cal symptoms. Sometimes even speaking of a tower 
would at once awaken this emotional complex which 
expressed itself outwardly in her face, as I myself 
observed on several occasions. Considering the fre- 
quency with which church and schoolhouse towers 
are met with in everyday life, one can easily imagine 
the discomfort arising from such a phobia. Before 
the mystery was unraveled she was unable to give 
any explanation of the origin or meaning of this 
phobia, and could not connect it with any episode 
in her life, or even state how far back in her life 
it had existed. Vaguely she thought it existed when 
she was about fifteen years of age and that it might 
have existed before that. Now it should be noted 
that an idea of a tower with bells had in her mind 


no meaning whatsoever that explained the fear. It 
had no more meaning than it would have in any- 
body's mind. In the content of consciousness there 
was only the perception plus emotion and no cor- 
responding meaning. Accordingly I sought to dis- 
cover the origin and meaning of the phobia by the 
so-called psycho-analytic method. 

When I attempted to recover the associated mem- 
ories by this method, the mere mention of bells in 
a tower threw her into a panic in which anxiety, 
"thrills," and perspiration were prominent. Be- 
fore making the analysis I had constructed a theory 
in my mind to the effect that a phobia for bells in 
a tower was a sexual symbolism, being led to this 
partly by the suggestiveness of the object and 
partly by the fact that I had found symbolisms of 
a sexual kind in her dreams.* 

Analysis was conducted at great length and memo- 
ries covering a wide field of experiences were 
elicited. When asked to think of bells in a tower, 
or each of these objects separately, there was at 
first a complete blocking of thought in that her mind 
became a blank. Later, memories which to a large 
extent, but not wholly, played in various relations 
around her mother (who is dead) as the central 
object came into the field of consciousness. Noth- 
ing, however, was awakened that gave the slightest 
meaning to the phobia even on the wildest interpre- 
tation. The patient, who had been frequently hyp- 

* In making the analysis, therefore, I was in no way antagonistic 
in my mind to the Freudian hypothesis. 


notized by another physician, tended during the 
analysis to go into a condition of unusually deep 
abstraction, to such a degree that on breaking off 
the analysis she failed to remember, save very im- 
perfectly, the memories elicited. Such an abstrac- 
tion is hypnosis. 

Finally, after all endeavors to discover the gene- 
sis of the phobia by analysis were in vain, I tried 
another method. While she was in hypnosis I put 
a pencil in her hand with the object of obtaining the 
desired information through automatic writing. 
While she was narrating some irrelevant memories 
of her mother, the hand rapidly wrote as follows: 

* ' G M church and my father took my 

mother to Bi where she died and we went to 

Br and they cut my mother. I prayed and 

cried all the time that she would live and the church 
bells were always ringing and I hated them." 

When she began to write the latter part of this 
script she became depressed, sad, indeed anguished ; 
tears flowed down her cheeks and she seemed to be 
almost heartbroken. In other words, it appeared 
as if she were subconsciously living over again the 
period described in the script. I say subconsciously 
for she did not know what her hand had written or 
why she was anguished. During the writing of 
the first part of the script she was verbally describ- 
ing other memories; during the latter part she 
ceased speaking. 

After awakening from hypnosis and when she 
had become composed in her mind she narrated, at 


my request, the events referred to in the script. She 
remembered them clearly as they happened when 
she was about fifteen years of age. It appeared that 

she was staying at that time in G M , 

a town in England. Her mother, who was seriously 
ill, was taken to a great surgeon to be operated 
upon. She herself suffered great anxiety and 
anguish lest her mother should not recover. She 
went twice a day to the church to pray for her 
mother's recovery and in her anguish declared that 
if her mother did not recover she would no longer 
believe in God. The chimes in the tower of the 
church, which was close to her hotel, sounded every 
quarter hour; they got on her nerves; she hated 
them; she could not bear to hear them, and while 
she was praying they added to her anguish. Ever 
since this time the ringing of bells has continued 
to cause a feeling of anguish. This narrative was 
not accompanied by emotion as was the automatic 

It now transpired that it was the ringing of the 
church bells, or the anticipated ringing of bells, that 
caused the fear, and not the perception of a tower 
itself. When she saw a tower she feared lest bells 
should ring. This was the object of the phobia.* 

* I want to emphasize this point, because certain students, as- 
suming the well-known alleged sexual symbolism as the meaning of 
steeples and towers, will read and have read such an interpretation 
into this phobia. As a matter of fact, although these objects had 
been originally alleged by the subject herself to be the object of the 
fear it was done thoughtlessly as the result of careless introspection. 
Later she clearly distinguished the true object. They were no more 


She could not explain why she had never before 
connected her phobia with the episode she described. 
This failure of association as we know is not uncom- 
mon, and in this case was apparently related to a 
determination to put out of mind an unbearable epi- 
sode associated with so much anguish. There had 
been for years a more or less constant mental con- 
flict with her phobia. The subject had striven not 
to think of or look at belfries, churches, school- 
houses, or any towers, or to hear the ringing of their 
bells, or to talk about them. She had endeavored to 
protect herself by keeping such ideas out of her 
mind. Before further analyzing the case there are 
two points which are well worth calling attention to : 
1. When the subject subconsciously described the 
original childhood experience by automatic script 
there was intense emotion fear which emerged 
into consciousness without her knowing the reason 
thereof. When, on the other hand, she later from 
her conscious memories described the same experi- 

thc object than the churches and schoolhouses themselves. They bore 
an incidental association only, and only indicated where the ringing 
of bells might be expected to be heard, having been an element in the 
original episode. Nor were bells, qua bells, the object of the phobia, 
but the ringing-of-bells of the kind that recalled the mother's death. 
In other words, the fear was of bells with a particular meaning. 
Nor was the fear absolutely limited to tower-bells, for it transpired 
that the subject had refrained from having, as she desired, an alarm 
bell arranged in her house in the country (in case of fire, etc.), be- 
cause of her phobia. (This note is perhaps made necessary by the 
violent shaking of the heads of my Freudian friends that I noticed 
at this point during the presentation of this case before the Ameri- 
can Psychopathological Association.) See Jour. Abn. Fsychol., Oct.- 
Nov., 1913. 


ence there was no such emotion. In other words 
it was only when the conserved residua of the ex- 
perience functioned consciously and autonomously 
as a dissociated, independent process that emotion 
was manifested. So long as the memories were 
described from the view-point of the matured adult 
personal consciousness there was no emotion. As a 
subconscious process they were unmodified by this 
later viewpoint. This suggests at least that when 
the phobia was excited by the sight or idea of a 
tower it was due likewise to a subconscious process 
and that this was one and the same as that which 
induced the experimental phobia. 

2. The phraseology of the script is noticeable. 
The account is just such as a child might have 
written. It reads as if the conserved thoughts of 
a child had awakened and functioned subconsciously. 

From this history, so far as given, it is plain that 
the psychosis in one sense is a recurring antecedent 
experience or memory, but it is only a partial mem- 
ory. The whole of the experience does not recur 
but only the emotion in association with the ring- 
ing of bells. The rest of that experience, viz., the 
idea of the possible death of her mother with its 
attendant grief and anguish associated with the 
visits to the church, the praying for recovery and 
finally the realization of the fatal ending all that 
which originally excited the fear and gave the ring- 
ing-of-bells-in-a-tower meaning was conserved as a 
setting in the unconscious. That the rest of the 
experience was conserved was shown by the fact 


that it could be recalled not only by automatic 
writing but, although not in association with the 
phobia, to conscious memory. From this point of 
view the fear of bells ringing may be regarded as 
a recurrence of the original fear that of her 
mother 's death now derived from a subconsciously 
functioning setting. The child was afraid to face 
her grief and so now the matured adult was also 

From another point of view the ringing of bells 
may be regarded as standing for, or a symbol of, 
her mother's death with which it was so intimately 
associated, and this symbol awakened the same fear 
as did originally the idea itself of the death. An 
object may still be the symbol of another, although 
the association between the two cannot be recalled. 
(The transference of the emotional factor of an 
experience to some element in it is a common occur- 
rence; e. g., a fear of knives in a person who has 
had the fear of committing suicide.) 

The discovered antecedent experiences of child- 
hood then give a hitherto unsuspected meaning to 
the ringing of bells. It is a meaning the mise en 
scene of a tragedy of grief and a symbol of that 
tragedy. But was that tragedy with its grief the 
real meaning of the child's fear or, perhaps more 
correctly, the whole of the meaning? And is it still 
the meaning in the mind of the adult woman ! Does 
the mere conservation of a painful memory of grief 
explain its persistent recurrent subconscious func- 
tioning during twenty-five years, well into adult life, 


so that the child's emotion shall be reawakened 
whenever one element (bell- tower) of the original 
experience is presented to consciousness? And, 
still more, can the persistence of a mere association 
of the affect with the object independently of a sub- 
conscious process explain the psychosis? Either 
of these two last propositions is absurd on its face 
as being opposed to the experience of the great mass 
of mankind. The vast majority of people have 
undergone disturbing, sorrowful or fear-inspiring 
experiences at some time during the course of their 
lives and they do not find that they cannot for years 
afterwards face some object or idea belonging to 
that experience without being overwhelmed with the 
same emotion. Such emotion in the course of time 
subsides and dies out. A few, relatively speaking, 
do so suffer and then, because contrary to general 
experience, it is called a psychosis. 

We must, then, seek some other and adequate fac- 
tor in the case under examination. When describing 
the episode in the church, the subject stated that 
on one occasion she omitted to go to church to pray 
and the thought came to her that if her mother died 
it would be due to this omission, and it would be her 
fault. The "eye of God"* she thought was literally 

* This idea had its origin in a child 's fairy tale, and had been 
fostered by the governess as a useful expedient in enforcing good 
behavior. The child accepting the fairy legend believed the Eye of 
God was always on her and every one in the world, and observed all 
that each did or omitted to do. The legend excited her imagination, 
and she used to think about it and wonder how God could keep His 
eye on so many people as there were in the world. At a still earlier 


upon her in her every daily act and when her mother 
did die she thought that it was God's punishment 
of herself because of that one failure. Consequently 
she thought that she was to blame for her mother's 
death; that her mother's death was her fault. She 
feared to face her mother's death, not because of 
grief that was a mere subterfuge, a self-deception 
but because she thought she was to blame; and 
she feared to face towers with bells, or rather the 
ringing of bells, because they symbolized or stood 
for that death (just as a tomb-stone would stand for 
it), and in facing that fact she had to face her own 
fancied guilt and self-reproach and this she dared 
not do. This was the real fear, the fear of facing 
her own guilt. The emotion then was not only a 
recurrence of the affect associated with the church 
episode but a reaction to self-reproach. The ringing 
of bells, somewhat metaphorically speaking, re- 
proached her as Banquo's ghost reproached Mac- 

All this was the child's point of view. 

But I found that the patient, an adult woman, 
still believed and obstinately maintained that her 
mother's death was her fault. She had never ceased 
to believe it. Why was this? Why had not the 

age, when she was about eight, she had thought her little brother's 
death was also her fault, because she had neglected one night, at the 
time of his illness, God's eye being upon her, to say her prayers. 
For a long time afterward she suffered similarly from self-reproach. 
It is interesting to compare the outgrowing with maturity of this 
self-reproach with the persistence of the later one, evidently owing 
to the reasons given in the text. 


unsophisticated belief of a child become modified by 
the maturity of years ? It did not seem to be proba- 
ble that the given child's reason was the real adult 
reason for self-reproach. I did not believe it. A 
woman forty years of age could not reproach her- 
self on such grounds. And, even if this belief had 
been originally the real reason, as a matter of fact 
she had outgrown the child's religious belief. She 
was a thorough-going agnostic. Further probing 
brought out the following: 

Two years before her mother's death, the patient, 
then thirteen years old, owing to her own careless- 
ness and disobedience to her mother's instructions, 
had contracted a "cold" which had been diagnosed 
as incipient phthisis. By the physician's advice 
her mother took her to Europe for a "cure" and 
was detained there (as she believed) for two years, 
all on account of the child's health. At the end of 
this period a serious, chronic disease from which 
the mother had long suffered was found to have so 
developed as to require an emergency operation. 
The patient still believed and argued that if her 
mother had not been compelled to take her abroad 
she (the mother) would have been under medical 
supervision at home, would have been operated upon 
long before and in all probability would not have 
died. Furthermore, as the patient had heedlessly 
and disobediently exposed herself to severe cold and 
thereby contracted the disease compelling the so- 
journ in Europe, she was to blame foi *he train of 
circumstances ending fatally. 


All this was perfectly logical and true, assuming 
the facts as presented. Here then was the real rea- 
son for the patient's persistent belief that her 
mother 's death was her fault and the persistent self- 
reproach. It also transpired that all this had 
weighed upon the child's mind and that the child 
had likewise believed it. So the child had two rea- 
sons for self-reproach. One was neglecting to pray 
and the other was being the indirect cause of the 
fatal operation. Both were intensely believed in. 
The first based on the "eye of God" theory she had 
outgrown, but the other had persisted. 

Summing up our study to this point: All these 
memories involving grief, suffering, self-reproach, 
bells and mother formed an unconscious setting 
which gave meaning to bells in towers and took part 
in the functioning to form a psychic whole. The con- 
scious psychosis was first the emergence into con- 
sciousness of two elements only, the perception and 
the affect, and the fear was a reaction to self-re- 
proach, a fear to face self -blame. 

Now even if the mother's death were logically, 
by a train of fortuitous circumstances, the patient's 
fault, why did an otherwise intelligent woman lay 
so much stress upon an irresponsible child's be- 
havior? The child after all behaved no differently 
from other children. People do not consciously 
blame themselves in after life for the ultimate con- 
sequences of childhood's heedlessness. According 
to common experience such self-reproaches do not 


last into adult life without some continuously acting 

A search in this case into the unconscious brought 
to light a persisting idea that when events in her 
life happened unfortunately it was due to her fault. 
It had cropped out again and again in connection 
with inconsequential as well as consequential mat- 
ters. She had, for instance, been really unable on 
many occasions to leave home on pleasure trips for 
fear lest some accident might happen within the 
home and consequently it would be due to her fault ; 
and if away she was in constant dread of something 
happening for which she would be to blame. It 
was not a fear of what might happen an accident 
to the children, for example but that it would be 
her fault. I have heard her, when some matter of 
apparently little concern had gone wrong, suddenly 
exclaim, "Was it my fault?" her voice and features 
manifesting a degree of emotion almost amounting 
to terror. When her brother died (still earlier, be- 
fore her mother's death) she had blamed herself for 
that death, as later with her mother, on the same re- 
ligious grounds. This self-reproach for happenings, 
fancied as due to her fault, has frequently appeared 
in her dreams. It would take us too far afield to 
trace the origin and psychogenesis of this idea. Suf- 
fice to say, it can be followed back to early child- 
hood when she was five or six years of age. She 
was a lonely, unhappy child. She thought herself 
ugly and unattractive and disliked and that so it al- 


ways would be through life, and it was all her fault 
because she was ugly, as she thought* The instinct 

* Another example of this idea and of the way it induced a 
psychosis is the following: She had an intense dislike to hearing the 
sound of running water. This sound induced an intense feeling of 
unhappiness and loneliness. This feeling was so intense that whenever 
she heard the sound of running water she endeavored to get away 
from it. The sound of a fountain or rainwater running from a roof, 
for example, would cause such unpleasant feelings that she would 
change her sleeping room to avoid them. Likewise drawing water to 
fill the bathtub was so unpleasant that she would insist upon the 
door being closed to exclude the sound. She could give no explana- 
tion of this psychosis. It was discovered in the following way: She 
had been desirous of finding out the cause, and we had discussed the 
subject. I had promised that I would unravel the matter in due time, 
after the other phobia had been cured. I then hypnotized her and, 
while she was in hypnosis and just after we had completed the other 
problem, she remarked that a memory of the running water associa- 
tion was on the verge of emerging into her mind. She could not 
get it for some time, and then, after some effort, it suddenly emerged. 
She described it as follows: "It was at Bar Harbor. She was about 
eight years of age. There was a brook there called Duck Brook. 
The older girls used to go up there on Sundays for a walk with the 
boys. I went with them one Sunday, accompanied by the governess, 
and was standing by the brook with a boy. It was a very noisy 
brook, the water running down from the hillside. While I was stand- 
ing by the brook, watching the running water, the boy left me to 
join the other girls, who had gone off. I thought that was the way 
it would always be in life; that I was ugly, and that they would 
never stay with me. I felt lonely and unhappy. During that sum- 
mer I would not join parties of the same kind, fearing or feeling 
that the same thing would happen. I stayed at home by myself, and 
when I refused to go it was attributed to sullenness. They did not 
know my real reasons. Ever since I have been unable to bear the 
sound of running water, whicn produces the feeling of unhappiness 
and loneliness, the same feeling that I had at that time. I thought 
then that it was all my fault, because I was ugly." It was then 
tentatively pointed out at some length to the subject that as she 
now knew all the facts which had been brought to the "full light 


of self-abasement (McDougall*) or negative self- 
feeling (Eibot) dominated the personality as the 
most insistent instinct and from its intensity within 
the self -regarding sentiment (McDougall) formed a 
sentiment of self-depreciation. She wanted to be 
liked and believed it to be her own fault that, as 
she fancied, she was not and never would be, and 
reproached herself accordingly. This sentiment of 
self depreciation with its impulse to render self-re- 
proach has persisted, as with many people, all her 
life and has been fostered by unwise and thoughtless 
domestic criticism. The persistence to the present 
day of this impulse to self-reproach is shown in the 
following observation: 

Quite recently this subject began to suffer from 
general fatigue, insomnia, distressing dreams, hys- 
terical crying, indefinable anxiety and pseudo twi- 
light states or extreme states of abstraction. In 
these states she became oblivious of her environ- 
ment, did not hear the conversation going on about 
her, nor answer when directly spoken to. This be- 

of day," etc., she, of course, would no longer have her former un- 
pleasant emotions from the sound of running water. Hereupon, to 
put the question to the test, I reached out my hand and poured 
some water from a caraffe, by chance standing by, into a tumbler, 
letting the water fall from a height to make a sound. At once she 
manifested discomfort, and sought to restrain me with her hand. 
Plainly the setting had to be changed. This was easily done by 
leading her to see that her childhood's ideas had been proven by 
life 's experiences to be false. When this became apparent she 
laughed at herself, and the psychosis ceased at once. 
* Social Psychology. 


came so noticeable that she became the jest of her 
companions. In these states her mind was always 
occupied with reveries (not fantasies), though 
mostly pleasant, regarding a very near relative who 
had died about six months previously. Her dis- 
tressing dreams also concerned this relative. It ap- 
peared, therefore, probable, on the face of the symp- 
toms that they were in some way related to this 
relative's death. 

Now it transpired, as I already knew, that the rel- 
ative had died under somewhat tragic circumstances 
and that our subject's experience during the last 
illness was unusually distressing and sorrowful. 
This experience, she asserted, she could not bear to 
speak or even think about and over and over again 
had refused to do so and put it out of her mind. She 
further asserted that her reason for this attitude 
was the distressing nature of the scenes in which 
she took part. 

Now I did not believe that this was the true rea- 
son, although given in good faith. It was improba- 
ble on its face. To say that a grown woman, forty 
years of age, could not do what every woman can 
do, tolerate sorrowful memories simply because they 
were sorrowful, and must perforce put them out of 
her mind, is sheer nonsense. There must be some 
other reason. 

On examining a dream it was found to be peculiar 
in one respect: It was not an imaginative or fan- 
tastic composition, but a detailed and precise living 
over again of the scenes at the death bed: that is 


to say, it was a sort of somnambulistic state. In re- 
calling this dream* she could not for some time re- 
cover the ending. Finally it "broke through," as 
she expressed it. The dream was as follows : First 
came many details of the vigil of the last night of 
the illness; then she went to her room and to bed 
to snatch a few moments ' sleep ; she was waked up 
by the husband of the dying relative appearing in 
her room. He sat on the edge of her bed and said 
to her, "All is over." Up to this point the facts 
of the dream were actual representations in great 
detail of the actual facts as they had occurred, but 
at this moment the dream presented a fact which 
had not occurred in the real scene ; she suddenly, in 
the dream, sat up in bed and exclaimed, ' * My God ! 
then I ought to have sent for the doctor!" 

Here was the key to the intolerance for memories 
of the illness of the relative and the death-bed scene. 
What had happened was this: The question had 
arisen early in the illness whether or not a doctor 
should be sent for from London in consultation. 
The expense, owing to the distance, would have been 
considerable. The whole responsibility and decision 
rested upon the subject. Against the opinion of 
other relatives she had decided that it was inadvisa- 
ble. After the fatal ending the question had arisen 
again whether or not she ought to have sent for the 
consultant and she had been tormented by the doubt 
as to whether she did right ; was the fatal result her 

* This was done in hypnosis, the dream being forgotten when 


fault? Although she had reasoned with herself that 
her decision was good judgment and right still there 
had always lurked a doubt in her mind. She was 
also somewhat disturbed by the thought of what the 
husband's opinion might be. 

The real reason why she could not tolerate the 
memories of the last illness of this relative, and the 
psychogenesis of the symptoms now were plain: 
they were not grief but self-reproach with its in- 
stinct of self-abasement. The memories brought to 
her mind that the fault was her's and with the 
thought came self-reproach. This self-reproach she 
was afraid of and unwilling to face. This fact she 
recognized and frankly confessed after the dis- 
closures of the analysis. 

Now follows the therapeutic sequel. The rela- 
tive's illness at the beginning was in no way of a 
dangerous nature and the proposed consultation had 
nothing to do with the question of danger to life. 
The death was due to purely an accidental factor 
and could not have been foreseen. When I assured 
her in hypnosis, with full explanation, that her de- 
cision had been medically sound, as it was, the 
change in her mental attitude was delightful to look 
upon. ' ' Wasn 't it my fault ! Wasn 't it my fault ! ' ' 
she exclaimed in excitement. Anxiety, dread, and 
depression gave way to exhilaration and joyousness. 
Thereupon she woke up completely relieved in mind, 
and retained the same feeling of joy, but without 
knowing the reason thereof. The explanation was 
repeated to her in the waking state and she then 


fully realized (as she did also in hypnosis) that 
her previous view was a pure subterfuge and fully 
appreciated the truth of the discovered reason for 
her inability to face her painful memories. The 
twilight states, the insomnia, and the distressing 
dreams, the anxiety, and other symptoms ceased at 

Returning to the phobia for bells, in the light of 
all these facts, the patient's belief that her mother's 
death was her fault and the consequent self-re- 
proach were obviously only a particular concrete ex- 
ample of a lifelong emotional tendency originating 
in the experiences of childhood to blame herself; 
and this tendency was the striving to express itself 
of the instinct of self-abasement (with the emotion 
of self -subjection) which, incorporated within ''the 
self -regarding sentiment" (McDougall), was so in- 
tensely cultivated and had played so large a part 
in her life. Indeed this instinct had almost domi- 
nated her self-regarding sentiment and had given 
rise time and again to self-reproach for acci- 
dental happenings. It now specifically determined 
her attitude of mind toward the series of events 
which led up to the fatal climax and determined her 
judgment of self-condemnation and self-reproach. 
These last most probably received increased emo- 
tional force from the large number of roots in pain- 
ful associations of antecedent experiences (particu- 
larly of childhood) in which the self -regarding 
sentiment, self-debasement, and self-reproaches 


were incorporated.* Nevertheless the fear was of 
a particular concrete self-reproach. The general 
tendency was of practical consequence only so far 
as it explained the particular point of view and 
might induce other self-reproaches. 

As a general summary of this study it would ap- 
pear that we can postulate a larger setting to the 
phobia than the grief inspiring experiences attend- 
ing her mother's death. The unconscious complex 
included the belief that she was to blame and the 
sentiment of self-reproach, and the whole gave a 
fuller meaning to the ringing of bells in a tower. 
The fear besides being a recurring association was 
also a reaction to the subconsciously excited setting 
of a fancied truth or self-accusation. Although ex- 
cited by towers and steeples the fear was really of 
self-reproach. Towers, steeples, and bells not only 
in a sense symbolized her mother's death, but her 
own fancied fault. It was in this sense and for this 
reason that she dared not face such objects. The 

* For instance, when I came to the therapeutics I found in ab- 
straction that the patient did not want to give up her point of view 
"because," as she said, "it forms an excuse so that when I feel 
lonely, if there is nothing else to be lonely about, I have that memory 
and point of view to fall back upon as something to justify my 
crying and feeling lonely and blue. ' ' 

When she now feels blue and cries, as happens occasionally, and 
she asks herself Why? then she drifts back in her mind to childhood 
and remembers she was lonely and then cries the harder. Then she 
vaguely thinks of her mother's death being her fault. She likes 
therefore to hold on to this as a peg on which to hang any present 
feeling of blueness and loneliness. 


conscious and the unconscious formed a psychic 

Now in reaching these conclusions see how far 
we have traveled : Starting with an ostensible pho- 
bia for towers, we find it is more correctly one of 
ringing-of -bells, but without conscious association; 
then we reach a childhood's tragedy; then a self- 
reproach on religious grounds; then a belief in a 
fault of childhood's behavior culminating in a life- 
long self-reproach the causal factor and psycho- 
logically the true object of the phobia : and between 
this last self-reproach and the phobia no conscious 

The therapeutic procedure and results are instruc- 
tive. As the fear was induced by a belief in a fan- 
cied fault exciting a self-reproach, obviously if 
this belief should be destroyed the self-reproach 
must cease and the fear must disappear. Now when 
all the facts were brought to light, the patient, as 
is usual, recognized the truth of them. She also 

* Some, I have no doubt, will insist upon seeing in towers with 
bells a sexual symbol, and in the self-reproach a reaction to a re- 
pressed infantile or other sexual wish. But I cannot accede to this 
view first, because a tower was not only not the real object of the 
phobia, but not even the alleged object, which was the ringing of 
bells; secondly, because it is an unnecessary postulate unsupported 
by evidence, and, thirdly, because in fact, the associative memories of 
early life were conspicuously free from sex knowledge, wishes, curi- 
osity, episodes and imaginings, nor was there any evidence of the so- 
called ' ' mother complex " or " father-complex, ' ' or any other sexual 
complex that I could find after a most exhaustive probing. The 
impulses of instincts other than sexual are sufficient to induce 
psychical trauma, insistent ideas, and emotion. To hold otherwise 
is to substitute dogma for the evidence of experience. 


recognized fully and completely the real nature of 
the fear, of the self-blame and of the self-reproach. 
There remained no lingering doubt in her mind, 
nevertheless the bringing to "the full light of day" 
of all this did not cure the phobia. As the first pro- 
cedure in the therapeusis it was pointed out that it 
was contrary to common sense to blame herself for 
the heedlessness of a child; that all children were 
disobedient; that she would have been a little prig 
if she had been the sort of a child that never dis- 
obeyed, and that she would not have blamed any 
other child who had behaved in a similar way under 
similar circumstances, and so on. She simply said 
that she recognized all this intellectually as true and 
yet, although it was the point of view which she 
would take with another person in the same situa- 
tion, it did not in any way alter her attitude toward 
herself. In other words the bringing to the full 
light of day of the facts did not cure the phobia. 
It was necessary to change the setting of her belief. 
To do this either the alleged facts had to be shown 
to be not true or else new facts had to be introduced 
which would give them a new meaning. This, briefly 
told, was done in the following way: 

She was put into light hypnosis in order that ex- 
act and detailed memories of her childhood might 
be brought out. Then, through her own memories, 
it was demonstrated, that is to say, the patient her- 
self demonstrated, that there was considerable 
doubt about her having had phthisis at all ; that she 
was not taken to the usual places of "cures" for 


phthisis but sojourned in the gay and pleasant cities 
and watering places of Europe; that her mother 
really staid in Europe because she enjoyed it and 
made an excuse of her daughter's health not to 
come home; that she might have returned at any 
time but did not want to do so ; and that the fault 
lay, if anywhere, with her physician at home. When 
this was brought out the patient remarked, "Why, 
of course, I see it now! My mother did not stay 
in Europe on account of my health but because she 
enjoyed it, and might have returned if she had 
wanted to. I never thought of that before ! It was 
not my fault at all ! " After coming out of hypnosis 
the facts as elicited were laid before the patient ; she 
again said that she saw it all clearly, as she had 
done in hypnosis, and her whole point of view was 

The therapeutics, then, consisted in showing that 
the alleged facts upon which the patient's logical 
conclusions had been based were false. The set- 
ting thereby was altered, and a new and true mean- 
ing given to the real facts. The result was towers 
and steeples no longer excited fears, the phobia 
ceased at once an immediate cure.* 

Type D. In this type the conscious psychosis con- 
sists of idea, meaning, affect, and physical disturb- 

* It is worth noting that between the bringing to the ' ' full light 
of day" the facts furnished by the analysis and the cure a full year 
and a half elapsed, during which the phobia continued. The "cure" 
was effected at one sitting. The original study was undertaken on 
purely psychological grounds; the cure for the purpose of completing 
the study. 


ance. F. E. suffered from attacks of so-called "un- 
reality" accompanied with intense fear. She was 
unable to give an intelligent explanation as to why 
she was afraid of the attacks harmless in them- 
selves until it was brought out that there was in 
the background of her mind the thought that the 
attacks spelled insanity (or that she was likely to 
go insane) and also death. Following the attacks 
there was amnesia for these thoughts. Her fear 
really, then, was of insanity and death. The con- 
tent of consciousness in the attacks contained the 
perception of herself as an insane person, thoughts 
which expressed the meaning of her attacks, and 
fear. (The usual physical disturbances of course 
accompanied the fear.) No amount of explanation 
of the harmlessness of the unreality syndrome suf- 
ficed to change her point of view, i. e., its meaning 
to her. But going further it was discovered that 
her self-regarding sentiment and her ideas of in- 
sanity and death were organized with a large num- 
ber of fear-inspiring antecedent experiences which 
explained why she regarded the attacks as danger- 
ous to her mentality and life ; and why the biological 
instinct of fear was incorporated with the self-re- 
garding sentiment. These experiences had long 
passed out of mind and there was no conscious asso- 
ciation between them and her phobia, but they could 
be recalled as associative memories.* The unreality 

* This account will be clearer if read in connection with the full 
analysis ("A Clinical Study of a Case of Phobia ")> published in 
the Jour, of Abn. Psychol., October-November, 1912. 


attacks had for her two meanings which were within 
the content of consciousness, viz., 1, insanity, and 2, 
death. The first was derived from (a) antecedent 
girlhood and later experiences which had engen- 
dered the unsophisticated belief that having the 
mind fixed on one subject, as was obtrusively and 
painfully the case at one time, meant insanity : and 
(b), from the fact that the bewildering, irreconcila- 
ble, absurd thoughts, conflicts, and emotions in 
which the unreality attacks culminated meant 

The second meaning (death) was derived from 
(a) the previous fixed idea (just referred to), or- 
ganized with that of insanity namely, an unsophis- 
ticated medieval idea of hell which was conceived 
of as the equivalent of death and which had excited 
an intense horror of both; and (b) from the fact 
that in the unreality attacks there was a struggling 
for air; struggling was in her mind, the equivalent 
of convulsions;* convulsions of unconsciousness; 
and unconsciousness of death. All these various 
ideas and the intense fears which each gave rise to 
had become organized into a complex, and, in conse- 
quence of these antecedent experiences in which self 
took a prominent part, the instinct of fear as I 
conceive the matter became incorporated within 
the self-regarding sentiment. (Anything that 
aroused this sentiment tended to arouse the emotion 
of fear, as in another person it would tend to arouse 

* She was apprehensive of having inherited Brigtir "S disease from 
her father, who had convulsions. 


the emotion of pride, or self-abasement.) At any 
rate this organized complex was the setting which 
gave the meaning to her phobia. There can be, I 
think, no manner of doubt about this. The patient 
herself explained her viewpoint through these ideas 
here briefly summarized. The only question is as 
to the mechanism of the phobia. Now as Type D, 
of which these cases are examples, differs clinically 
from the preceding three types only in the addition 
of one more element meaning to the conscious 
psychic whole, a consistent interpretation would 
seem to compel us to postulate also a functioning 
subconscious complex or setting and in this case of 
the antecedent experiences disclosed as a factor in 
the mechanism and a part of the psychic whole. Out 
of this complex emerged into consciousness the idea 
of insanity and death and fear as the meaning of 
the unreality syndrome, the whole constituting the 
phobia psychosis. 

That there was in fact a subconsciously function- 
ing process derived from this complex would seem 
to be almost conclusively shown by another phe- 
nomenon manifested. I refer to the vivid visualiza- 
tion of herself in a convulsion, struggling for air 
and manifesting fright, which she experienced in 
each attack. We have seen that such a visualization 
(i. e., a modified vision) is the expression (sec- 
ondary images?) of a subconscious process (co- 
conscious ideas?). As a matter of fact this particu- 
lar visualization was a pictorial representation of 
antecedent thoughts organized with thoughts of 


death and insanity and still conserved in the un- 
conscious. We must believe, then, that it was these 
antecedent thoughts (in the first place her appre- 
hension of inheriting Bright 's disease and convul- 
sions from her father, and in the second place her 
conception of the unreality syndrome as a state 
which might possibly end in convulsions) which, 
functioning subconsciously, induced the quasi hal- 
lucinatory expression of themselves.* It is difficult 
to get away from the conclusion that the remainder 
of the setting from which the ideas of insanity and 
death were derived also functioned as a subcon- 
scious process. Whether this process was cocon- 
scious or unconscious is a secondary question which 
we need not consider. 

In weighing the probabilities of this interpreta- 
tion we should bear in mind that there were two 
conscious beliefs of which the patient was fully 
aware and which were very real to her ; namely, the 
liability of becoming insane and to convulsions and 
death. The conative force of the instinct of fear 
linked to such ideas is quite sufficient to drive them 
to expression when out of mind and subconscious. 
Or expressed differently we may say that the fear 
was a reaction to these ideas which the patient dared 
not face. 

We ought not, however, to be too sweeping in our 
generalizations and go further than the facts war- 

* It is quite possible that this subconscious process induced the 
unreality syndrome in which struggling for air was the salient 


rant. "We are not justified in concluding that the 
linking of an affect to an idea always includes a 
subconscious mechanism. On the contrary, as I have 
previously said, probably in the great majority of 
such experiences, aside from obsessions, no such 
mechanism is required to explain the facts. 

The Inability to Voluntarily Modify Obsessions. 
We are now in a position on this theory to look 
a little more deeply into the structure and mechan- 
ism of an obsession and thereby realize why it is 
that the unfortunate victims are so helpless to mod- 
ify or control them. Indeed this behavior of the 
setting could be cited as another piece of circum- 
stantial evidence for the theory that the setting is 
largely unconscious and that only a few elements of 
it enter the field of consciousness. If we simply ex- 
plain to a person who has a true obsession, i. e., an 
insistent idea with a strong feeling tone, the falsity 
of the point of view, the explanation in many cases 
at least has no or little effect in changing the view- 
point, though the patient admits the correctness of 
the explanation. The patient cannot modify his idea 
even if he will. But if the original complex, which 
is hidden in the unconscious and which gives rise 
to the meaning of the idea, is discovered, and so 
altered that it takes on a new meaning and differ- 
ent feeling tones, the patient's conscious idea be- 
comes modified and ceases to be insistent. This 
would imply that the insistent idea is only an ele- 
ment in a larger unconscious complex which is the 


setting and unconsciously determines the viewpoint. 
The reason why the patient cannot voluntarily alter 
his viewpoint becomes intelligible by this theory, be- 
cause that which determines it is unconscious and 
unknown. He may not even know what his point 
of view is, owing to the meaning being in the fringe 
of consciousness. 

If this theory of the mechanism is soundly es- 
tablished the difficulty of correcting obsessions be- 
comes obvious and intelligible. It is also obvious 
that there are theoretically two ways in which an 
obsession might be corrected. 

1. A new setting with strong affects may be arti- 
ficially created so that the perception acquires an- 
other equally strong meaning and interest. 

2. The second way theoretically would be to bring 
into consciousness the setting and the past experi- 
ences of which the setting is a sifted residuum, and 
reform it by introducing new elements, including 
new emotions and feelings. In this way the old set- 
ting and point of view would become transformed 
and a new point of view substituted which would 
give a new meaning to the perception. 

Now in practice both these theoretical methods of 
destroying an obsession are found to work, although 
both are not always equally efficacious in the same 
case. In less intense obsessions where the complex 
composing the setting is only partially and incon- 
sequently submerged, and to a slight degree differ- 
entiated from the mass of conscious experiences, 
the first and simpler method practically is amply 


sufficient. We might say that the greater the de- 
gree to which the setting is conscious and the less 
the degree to which it has acquired, as an uncon- 
scious process, independent autonomous activity the 
more readily it may be transformed by this method. 

On the other hand in the more intense obsessions, 
where a greater part of the setting is unconscious, 
has wide K unifications and has become differenti- 
ated as an independent autonomous process, the 
more difficult it is to suppress it and prevent its 
springing into activity whenever excited by some 
stimulus (such as an associated idea). In such in- 
stances the second method is more efficacious. It 
is obvious that, so long as the setting to a central 
idea remains organized and conserved in the uncon- 
scious, the corresponding perception and meaning 
are always liable under favoring conditions (such as 
fatigue, ill health, etc.) to be switched into conscious- 
ness and replace the new formed perception. This 
means of course a recurrence. Nevertheless medi- 
cal experience from the beginning of time has shown 
that this is not necessarily or always the case. The 
technique, therefore, of the treatment of obsessions 
will vary from "simple explanations" (Taylor) 
without preliminary analysis to the more compli- 
cated and varying procedures of analysis and re- 
education in its many forms. 

Affects. Here a word of caution in the interpre- 
tation of emotional reactions is necessary. In the 
building of complexes, as we have seen, an affect 
becomes linked to an idea through an emotional ex- 


perience. The recurrence of that idea always in- 
volves the recurrence of the affect. It is not a logi- 
cal necessity that the original experience which occa- 
sioned the affect should always be postulated as a 
continuing subconscious process to account for the 
affect in association with the idea. It is quite pos- 
sible, if not extremely probable, that in the simpler 
types, at least, of the emotional complexes, the as- 
sociation between the idea and affect becomes so 
firmly established that the conscious idea alone, 
without the cooperation of a subconscious process, 
is sufficient to awake the emotion; just as in Paw- 
low's dogs the artificially formed association be- 
tween a tactile stimulus and the salivary glands is 
sufficient to excite the glands to activity, or as in 
human beings the idea of a ship by pure association 
may determine fear and nausea, the sound of run- 
ning water by the force of association may excite 
the bladder reflex, or an ocular stimulus the so- 
called hay fever complex. So in word-association 
reactions, when a word is accompanied by an affect- 
reaction the word itself may be sufficient to excite 
the reaction without assuming that an "uncon- 
scious complex has been struck." The total mech- 
anism of the process we are investigating must be 
determined in each case for itself. 

In the study and formulation of psychological 
phenomena there is one common tendency and dan- 
ger, and that is of making the phenomena too sche- 
matic and sharply defined, as if we were dealing 


with material objects. Mental processes are not 
only plastic but shifting, varying, unstable, and un- 
dergo modifications of structure almost from mo- 
ment to moment. We describe a complex schemati- 
cally as if it had a fixed, immutable, and well-defined 
structure. This is far from being the case. Al- 
though there may be a fairly fixed nucleus, the 
cluster, as a whole, is ill defined and undergoes con- 
siderable modification from moment to moment. 
New elements enter the cluster and replace or are 
added to those which previously took part in the 
composition. An analogy might be made with a 
large cluster of electric lights arranged about a 
central predominant light, but so arranged that in- 
dividual lights could be switched in and cut out of 
the cluster at any moment and different colored 
lights substituted. The composition and structure 
of the cluster, and the intensity and color of the 
light, could be varied from moment to moment, yet 
the cluster as a cluster maintained. We might carry 
the analogy farther and imagine the cluster to be 
an advertising sign which had a meaning the ad- 
vertisement. This meaning might or might not be 
altered by the changes in the individual lamps. 

The same indefiniteness pertains to the demarca- 
tion between the conscious and the subconscious. 
What was conscious at one moment may be subcon- 
scious the next and vice versa. Under normal con- 
ditions there is a continual shifting between the 
conscious and subconscious. I have made numer- 
ous investigations to determine this point, and the 


evidence is fairly precise, and to me convincing, 
that this shifting continually occurs,* as might well 
be inferred on theoretical grounds. Nor, excepting 
in special pathological and artificial dissociated con- 
ditions, is the distinction between the conscious and 
subconscious at any moment always sharp and pre- 
cise; it is often rather a matter of vividness and 
shading, and whether a conscious state is in the 
focus of attention or in the fringe. Experimental 
observation confirms introspection in this respect. 
In view of the foregoing we can now appreciate 
a fallacy which has been too commonly accepted in 
the interpretation of therapeutic facts. It is quite 
generally held that it is a necessity that the under- 
lying unconscious complexes cannot be modified 
without bringing them to the ''full light of day" by 
analysis. The facts of everyday observation do not 
justify this conclusion. The awakening of dormant 
memories of past experiences is mainly of impor- 
tance for the purpose of giving us exact infor- 
mation of what we need to modify, not necessarily 
for the purpose of effecting the modification. Owing 
to the fluidity of complexes, whether unconscious 
or conscious, our conscious ideas can become incor- 
porated in unconscious complexes. This means that 
any new setting in which we may incorporate oar 
conscious ideas to give them a new meaning beconus 
effective in the associations which these ideas have 
as a dormant complex. The latter is able to assimi- 

* I am excluding conditions like split personalities, automatic 
writing, etc., and refer rather to normal mental processes. 


late from the conscious any new material offered 
to it. Practical therapeutics and everyday experi- 
ence abundantly have shown this. I have accom- 
plished this, and I believe every therapeutist has 
done the same time and again. We should be cau- 
tious not to overlook common experience in the 
enthusiasm for new theories and dramatic observa- 
tions. The difficulty is in knowing what we want to 
modify, and for this purpose analytical investiga- 
tions of one sort or another are of the highest as- 
sistance, because they furnish us with the required 
information. If we recover the memories of the 
unconscious complex our task is easier, as we can 
apply our art with the greater skill. 

When we speak of a setting to an idea we are 
not entitled to think of it as a sharply defined group 
of ideas, or sharply limited subconscious process. 
When we identify it with the residua of past ex- 
periences we are not entitled, on the basis of exact 
knowledge, to arbitrarily make up a selected cluster 
of residua which shall exclude those and include 
these residual elements of antecedent associated ex- 
periences, and dogmatically postulate the composi- 
tion of the complex which we call the setting. Analy- 
sis by the very limitations of the method fails to 
permit of such arbitrary selection, and synthetic 
methods are not sufficiently exact for the purpose. 
All we can say is that from the residua of various 
past experiences a complex is sifted out to become 
the setting. And even then no process is entirely 


autonomous and entirely removed from the interfer- 
ing, directing, and cooperative influence of other 
processes. Even with simple and purely physiolog- 
ical processes, such as the knee jerk, this is true. 
Although the knee jerk may be schematically con- 
ceived as a simple reflex arc involving the peripheral 
nerves and the spinal cord, nevertheless other parts 
of the nervous system the brain and the spinal 
cord provide cooperative processes which take 
part, and under special conditions take a very active 
part, in modifying the phenomenon. While we are 
justified, for the clarifying purposes of exposition, 
in schematizing the phenomenon by selecting the 
spinal reflex as the predominant process, yet we 
do not overlook the cooperative processes which 
may control and modify the spinal reflex. If this is 
true of purely physiological processes, it is still 
more true of the enormously more complex proc- 
esses of human intelligence. 

We may say, then, not only that with our present 
knowledge and our present methods we are not able 
to precisely differentiate the settings of ideas, but 
that it is highly improbable that settings as com- 
plexes of residua are with any preciseness func- 
tionally entirely autonomous and removed from the 
influence of other associative processes. 

We need further investigations into the psychol- 
ogy and processes of settings, and until we have 
wider and more exact knowledge it is well not to 
theorize and still more not to dogmatize. It is an 
inviting field which awaits the psychologist. 

Emotion,* more particularly fear, plays so large 
a part in the psychogenesis and symptomatology of 
the psychoses that it is desirable to have a clear 
realization of its physiological and psychological 
manifestations and of the disturbances of the or- 
ganism which it can induce. It is not necessary for 
our purpose to discuss the various theories of the 
nature of emotion that have been propounded; we 
need deal only with the manifestations of emotion 
and its effect upon the organism.f We will con- 
sider the physiological manifestations first. 

When a strong emotion is awakened in conscious- 
ness there are a large number of physiological re- 
actions, for the most part visceral, which can be 
noted. Some of these may be graphically recorded 
and measured by means of instruments of precision. 
These physiological reactions are numerous and 
have been extensively described by Fere J among 
others. The earlier work of Mosso upon the dis- 

* I use the word, not in the strict but in the popular and gen- 
eral sense, to include feeling, indeed all affective states, excepting 
where the context gives the strict meaning. 

t The James-Lange theory is disregarded here as untenable. 

J La Pathologic des Emotions, 1892. 



turbances of the respiration and vasomotor ap- 
paratus induced by sensory stimulation is well 

More recently considerable experimental work 
has been done, particularly by German investiga- 
tors, to determine the influence of affective states 
upon the circulation and respiration. 

Modifications of the peripheral circulation, mani- 
fested through pallor or turgescence of the skin and 
measured by changes recorded by the plethismo- 
graph in the volume of the limbs; modifications of 
the volume of the heart and of the rhythm and 
force of the beats recorded by the sphygmograph, 
and of arterial tension measured by the sphygmo- 
monometer are common phenomena. (Fear is 
more particularly accompanied by pallor, and 
shame by turgescence blushing. Anger in some is 
manifested by pallor and in others by turgescence, 
and so on.) Changes in rate of the heart-beats be- 
long to popular knowledge. It is not so well known, 
even to physiologists that the volume of the heart 
may be affected by emotion. In several series of 
observations made under conditions of emotional 
excitement upon a large number of healthy men, 
candidates for civil service appointments, I re- 
corded in a high percentage not only alterations in 
the rate and rhythm and force of the heart-beat, but 
temporary dilatation of the heart lasting during the 
period of excitement.* This dilatation in some 

* Physiological Dilatation and the Mitral Sphincter as Factors in 
Functional and Organic Disturbances of the Heart, The American 



cases was sufficient to lead to insufficiency of the mi- 
tral valve and to give rise to murmurs. The exami- 
nation was purposely conducted so as to induce a 
high degree of emotional excitement, at least in 
many men. In another series of observations (not 
published) the arterial tension was measured, and 
it was found, as would be expected, that an increase 
of tension accompanied the cardiac excitation under 

Fig. 2. J., acute katatonic stupor, b is a wave selected from the 
series in which 6 is sudden call by name. The galvanometer curve (a) 
is slight, but the change in the pneumograph curve is notable. 
(Peterson and Jung.f) 

Journal of the Medical Sciences, February, 1901; also, The Occur- 
rence and Mechanism of Physiological Heart Murmurs (Endocar- 
dial) in Healthy Individuals, The Medical Record, April 20, 1889. 

* The emotional factor is a source of possible fallacy in all ob- 
servations on arterial tension and must be guarded against. 

f Frederick Peterson and C. G. Jung: Psycho-Physical Investiga- 
tions with the Galvanometer and Pneumograph, Brain, Vol. XXX, 
July, 1907, p. 153. 


As to the respiratory apparatus the effect of emo- 
tion in altering the rate and depth of respiration 
may be shown by the pneumograph ; by this method 
the effects of slight emotion that otherwise would 
escape observation may be detected. Such a dis- 
turbance of respiration is shown in the tracing, 
Fig. 2. 

That emotion will profoundly affect the respira- 
tion has of course been common knowledge from 
time immemorial, and has been made use of by 
writers of fiction and actors for dramatic effect. 
The same may be said of modifications of the func- 
tioning of the whole respiratory apparatus, includ- 
ing the nostrils and the mouth; and likewise of the 
decrease or increase of secretions (dryness of the 
mouth from fear, and "foaming" from anger). 
These are among the well known physiological ef- 
fects of emotions. 

Increase of sweat sometimes amounting to an out- 
pour, and alterations in the amount of the various 
glandular secretions (salivary, gastric, etc.), and 
rigor are important phenomena. 

The remarkable researches of Pawlow * and his 
co-workers in Eussia on the work of the digestive 
glands, and those of Cannon f in America on the 
movements of the stomach and intestines have re- 

* The Work of the Digestive Glands (English Translation), Lon- 
don, 1902. 

t For a summary of Cannon 's work, see his article, Eecent Ad- 
vances in the Physiology of the Digestive Organs Bearing on Medi- 
cine and Surgery, The Medical Journal of Medical Sciences, 1906, 
New Series, Vol. CXXXI, pp. 563-578. 


vealed that these functions are influenced in an as- 
tonishing degree by psychical factors. 

Although it has long been known that the sight of 
food under certain conditions would call forth a 
secretion of gastric juice in a hungry dog (Bidder 
and Smith, 1852), and common observation has told 
us that emotion strongly affects the gastrointestinal 
functions, increasing or diminishing the secretions 
of saliva and gastric juice, and even producing dys- 
peptic disturbances and diarrhoea, it has remained 
for Pawlow and his co-workers to demonstrate the 
important part which the ' ' appetite, " as a psychical 
state, plays in the process of digestion. In hungry 
dogs a large quantity of gastric juice, rich in fer- 
ment, is poured out when food is swallowed, and 
even at the sight of food, and it was proved that 
this outpouring was due to psychical influences. 
Simply teasing and tempting the animal with food 
cause secretions, and food associations in the en- 
vironment may have the same effect. "If the dog 
has not eaten for a long time every movement, the 
going out of the room, the appearance of the at- 
tendant who ordinarily feeds the animal in a word, 
every triviality may give rise to excitation of the 
gastric glands." (Pawlow, p. 73.) This first se- 
creted juice is called "appetite juice," and is an im- 
portant factor in the complicated process of diges- 
tion. "The appetite is the first and mightiest 
exciter of the secretory nerves of the stomach." 
(Pawlow, p. 75.) Pawlow 's results have been con- 
firmed in man by Hornborg, Umber, Bickel, and 


Cade and Latarjet. The mere chewing of appetizing 
food, for instance, is followed by a copious discharge 
of gastric juice, while chewing of rubber and dis- 
tasteful substances has a negative result. Depres- 
sing emotions inhibit the secretion of juice (Bickel). 
More than this, Cannon,* in his very remarkable 
experiments on the movements of the stomach and 
intestines, found that in animals (cat, rabbit, dog, 
etc.), gastric peristalsis is stopped whenever the 
animal manifests signs of rage, distress, or even 
anxiety. "Any signs of emotional disturbance, 
even the restlessness and continual mewing which 
may be taken to indicate uneasiness and discom- 
fort, were accompanied in the cat by total cessation 
of the segmentation movements of the small intes- 
tines, and of antiperistalsis in the proximal colon." 
Bickel and Sasaki have confirmed in dogs these emo- 
tional effects obtained by Pawlow and Cannon. 

The effect of the emotions on the digestive proc- 
esses is so important from the standpoint of clin- 
ical medicine that I quote the following summary 
of published observations from Cannon: "Horn- 
borg found that when the boy whom he studied 
chewed agreeable food a more or less active secre- 
tion of the gastric juice was started, whereas the 
chewing of indifferent material was without influ- 

* American Journal of Medical Sciences, 1906, p. 566. See also 
*'The Influence of Emotional States on the Functions of .the Ali- 
mentary Canal," by the same writer (ibid., April, 1909) for an in- 
teresting resume of the subject. 


"Not only is it true that normal secretion is fa- 
vored by pleasurable sensations during mastication, 
but also that unpleasant feelings, such as vexation 
and some of the major emotions, are accompanied 
by a failure of secretion. Thus Hornborg was un- 
able to confirm in his patient the observation of 
Pawlow that mere sight of food to a hungry sub- 
ject causes the flow of gastric juice. Hornborg 
explains the difference between his and Pawlow 's 
results by the difference in the reaction of the sub- 
jects to the situation. When food was shown, but 
withheld, Pawlow 's hungry dogs were all eagerness 
to secure it, and the juice at once began to flow. 
Hornborg 's little boy, on the contrary, became vexed 
when he could not eat at once, and began to cry; 
then no secretion appeared. Bogen also reports 
that his patient, a child, aged three and a half years, 
sometimes fell into such a passion in consequence 
of vain hoping for food, that the giving of the food, 
after calming the child, was not followed by any 
secretion of the gastric juice. 

"The observations of Bickel and Sasaki confirm 
and define more precisely the inhibitory effects of 
violent emotion on gastric secretion. They studied 
these effects on a dog with an O2sophageal fistula, 
and with a side pouch of the stomach which, accord- 
ing to Pawlow 's method, opened only to the exterior. 
If the animal was permitted to eat while the 
oesophageal fistula was open the food passed out 
through the fistula and did not go to the stomach. 
Bickel and Sasaki confirmed the observation of 


Pawlow that this sham feeding is attended by a 
copious flow of gastric juice, a true 'psychic secre- 
tion,' resulting from the pleasurable taste of the 
food. In a typical instance the sham feeding lasted 
five minutes, and the secretion continued for twenty 
minutes, during which time 66.7 c. c. of pure gastric 
juice was produced. 

* ' On another day a cat was brought into the pres- 
ence of the dog, whereupon the dog flew into a great 
fury. The cat was soon removed, and the dog paci- 
fied. Now the dog was again given the sham feeding 
for five minutes. In spite of the fact that the ani- 
mal was hungry and ate eagerly, there was no se- 
cretion worthy of mention. During a period of 
twenty minutes, corresponding to the previous ob- 
servation, only 9 c. c. of acid fluid was produced, 
and this was rich in mucus. It is evident that in 
the dog, as in the boy observed by Bogen, strong 
emotions can so profoundly disarrange the mech- 
anisms of secretion that the natural nervous exci- 
tation accompanying the taking of food cannot 
cause the normal flow. 

"On another occasion Bickel and Sasaki started 
gastric secretion in the dog by sham feeding, and 
when the flow of gastric juice had reached a cer- 
tain height the dog was infuriated for five minutes 
by the presence of the cat. During the next fifteen 
minutes there appeared only a few drops of a very 
mucous secretion. Evidently in this instance a 
physiological process, started as an accompaniment 
of a psychic state quietly pleasurable in character, 


was almost entirely stopped by another psychic 
state violent in character. 

"It is noteworthy that in both the positive and 
negative results of the emotional excitement illus- 
trated in Bickel and Sasaki's dog the effects per- 
sisted long after the removal of the exciting condi- 
tion. This fact Bickel was able to confirm in a girl 
with O3sophageal and gastric fistulas; the gastric 
secretion long outlasted the period of eating, al- 
though no food entered the stomach. The impor- 
tance of these observations to personal economics 
is too obvious to require elaboration. 

"Not only are the secretory activities of the 
stomach unfavorably affected by strong emotions; 
the movements of the stomach as well, and, indeed, 
the movements of almost the entire alimentary 
canal, are wholly stopped during excitement. ' ' * 

So you see that the proverb, "Better a dinner 
of herbs where love is than a stalled ox and hatred 
therewith," has a physiological as well as a moral 

Nearly any sensory or psychical stimulus can be 
artificially made to excite the secretion of saliva as 
determined by experimentation on animals by 

It is probable that all the ductless glands (thy- 
roid, suprarenal, etc.), are likewise under the influ- 
ence of the emotions. The suprarenal glands se- 
crete a substance which in almost infinitesimal doses 
has a powerful effect upon the heart and blood ves- 

* American Journal of the Medical Sciences, April, 1909. 


sels, increasing the force of the former and con- 
tracting the peripheral arterioles. The recent 
observations of Cannon and de la Paz have demon- 
strated in the cat that under the influence of fear or 
anger an increase of this substance is poured into 
the circulation.* Cannon, Shohl and Wright have 
also demonstrated that the glycosuria which was 
known to occur in animals experimented upon in 
the laboratory is due (in cats) to the influence of 
the emotions, very probably discharging through 
the sympathetic system on the adrenal glands and 
increasing their secretion.f The glycosuria is un- 
doubtedly due to an increase of sugar in the blood. 
It is interesting to note, in this connection, that there 
is considerable clinical evidence that indicates that 
some cases of diabetes and glycosuria have an emo- 
tional origin. The same is true of disease of the 
thyroid gland (exophthalmic goiter). 

Most of the viscera are innervated by the sympa- 
thetic system, and the visceral manifestations of 
emotion indicate the dominance of sympathetic im- 
pulses. "When, for example, a cat becomes fright- 
ened, the pupils dilate, the stomach and intestines 
are inhibited, the heart beats rapidly, the hairs of 
the back and tail stand erect all signs of nervous 
discharge along sympathetic paths" (Cannon). 
Cannon and his co-workers have further made the 
acute suggestion that, as adrenalin itself is capable 

* Cannon and de la Paz : American Journal of Physiology, April 
1, 1911. 

t Cannon, Shohl, and Wright, Ibid., December 1, 1911. 


of working the effects evoked by sympathetic stimu- 
lation, ' * the persistence of the emotional state, after 
the exciting object has disappeared, can be ex- 
plained" by the persistence of the adrenalin in the 
blood. There is reason to believe that some of the 
adrenal secretion set free by nervous stimulation 
returning in the blood stream to the glands stimu- 
lates them to further activity, and this would tend 
to continue the emotional effect after the emotion 
has subsided. " Indeed it was the lasting effect of 
excitement in digestive processes which suggested" 
to Cannon his investigations.* 

According to Fere f the pupils may dilate under 
the influence of asthenic emotions and contract with 
sthenic emotions. However that may be, the dilata- 
tion of the pupils during states of fear may be dem- 
onstrated in animals. 

The influence of emotion on the muscular system 
need hardly be more than referred to. Tremor, 
twitchings, particularly of the facial muscles, and 
other involuntary movements, as well as modifica- 
tions of the tonus of the muscles, are common ef- 
fects. All sorts of disturbances occur, ranging from 
increase of excitability to paralysis. Everyone 
knows that under the influence of powerful emo- 
tion, whether of joy, anger, or fear, there is dis- 
charged an increase of energy to the muscles, some- 
times of an intensity which enables an individual to 

* These effects of adrenalin suggest that the secretion may take 
some part in pathological anxiety states. 
t Pathologic des Emotions, 1892. 


exert force of which he is ordinarily incapable. Or 
this energy, instead of being discharged into the 
channels being made use of by the will, and so aug- 
menting its effects, may be so discharged as to in- 
hibit the will, and produce paralysis of the will and 
muscular action. 

These muscular vasomotor and secretory changes 
need not surprise us, as indeed they have a biologi- 
cal meaning. As Sherrington * has pointed out, 
"there is a strong bond between emotion and mus- 
cular action. Emotion 'moves' us, hence the word 
itself. If developed in intensity, it impels toward 
vigorous movement. Every vigorous movement of 
the body . . . involves also the less noticeable co- 
operation of the viscera, especially of the circu- 
latory and respiratory [and, I would add, the 
secretory glands of the skin]. The extra demand 
made upon the muscles that move the frame involves 
a heightened action of the nutrient organs which 
supply to the muscles the material for their en- 
ergy"; and also involves a heightened action of the 
sweat glands to maintain the thermic equilibrium. 
"We should expect," Sherrington remarks, "vis- 
ceral action to occur along with the muscular ex- 
pression of emotion," and we should expect, it may 
be added, that through this mechanism emotion 
should become integrated with vasomotor, secretory, 
and other visceral functions. 

Another physiological effect of emotion ought to 
be mentioned, as of recent years it has been the ob- 

* The Integrative Action of the Nervous System, p. 266. 


ject of much and intensive study by numerous stu- 
dents and has been frequently made use of in the 
clinical study of mental derangements and in the 
study of subconscious phenomena. I refer to the 
so-called "psycho-galvanic reflex." As an outcome 
of all the investigations which have been made by 
numerous students into this phenomenon, it now 
seems clear that there are two types of galvanic 
reactions, distinct from each other, which can be 
recognized. The one type first described by Fere * 
consists in an increase, brought about by emotion, 
of a galvanic current made to pass through the body 
from a galvanic cell. If a very sensitive galvanome- 
ter is put in circuit with the body and such a cell, a 
certain deviation of the needle of course may be 
noted varying in amplitude according to the resist- 
ance of the body. Now, if an idea associated with 
emotion i. e., possessing a sufficient amount of af- 
fective tone is made to enter the consciousness of 
the person experimented upon, there is observed an 
increased deflection of the needle, showing an in- 
crease of current under the influence of the emotion. 
The generally accepted interpretation of this in- 
crease is that it is due to diminished resistance of 
the skin (with which the electrodes are in contact) 
caused by an increase of the secretions of the sweat 
glands. A similar increase of current follows vari- 
ous sensory stimulations, such as the pricking of a 

* Note sur les modifications de la resistance Slectrique sous 1 'in- 
fluence des excitations sensorielles et des Emotions, C. E. Soc. de 
Biologic, 1888, p. 217. 


pin, loud noises, etc. It may be interesting for his- 
torical reasons to quote here Fere 's statement of his 
observations, as they seem to be generally over- 
looked. In his volume, "La Pathologic des Emo- 
tions, ' ' in 1892, he thus sums up his earlier and later 
observations: "I then produce various sensory 
stimulations visual (colored glasses), auditory 
(tuning fork), gustatory, olfactory, etc. Where- 
upon there results a sudden deviation of the needle 
of the galvanometer which, for the strongest stimu- 
lations, may travel fifteen divisions (milliamperes). 
The same deviation may also be produced under the 
influence of sthenic emotions, that is to say, it is 
produced under all the conditions where I have pre- 
viously noticed an augmentation of the size of the 
limbs, made evident through the plethysmograph. 
Absence of stimulation, on the contrary, increases 
the resistance; in one subject the deviation was re- 
duced by simply closing the eyes. 

"Since these facts were first described at the Bi- 
ological Society I have been enabled to make more 
exact observations by using the process recom- 
mended by A. Vigouroux (De la resistance elec- 
trique chex les melancoliques, Th. 1890, p. 17), and 
I have ascertained that under the influence of pain- 
ful emotions or tonic emotions the electrical resist- 
ance may, in hystericals, instantaneously vary from 
4,000 to 60,000 ohms." 

It will be noticed that Fere attributed the varia- 
tions of the current to variations of resistance of 
the body induced by sensations and emotions. 


The method of obtaining the psycho-galvanic re- 
action may be varied in many ways, the underlying 
principle being the same, namely, the arousing of 
an emotion of some kind. This may be simply 
through imagined ideas, or by expectant attention, 
sensory stimulation, suggested thoughts, verbal 
stimuli, etc. According to Peterson and Jung,* 
' ' excluding the effect of attention, we find that every 
stimulus accompanied by an emotion causes a rise 
in the electric curve, and directly in proportion to 
the liveliness and actuality of the emotion aroused. 
The galvanometer is therefore a measurer of the 
amount of emotional tone, and becomes a new instru- 
ment of precision in psychological research. ' ' This 
last statement can hardly be said to be justified, as 
we have no means of measuring the "liveliness and 
actuality" of an emotion and, therefore, of co-re- 
lating it with a galvanic current, nor have we any 
grounds for assuming that the secretion of sweat 
(upon which the diminished resistance of the body 
presumably depends) is proportionate to the live- 
liness of the emotion, or, indeed, even that it always 
occurs. It is enough to say that the galvanic cur- 
rent is in general a means of detecting the presence 
of emotion. 

The second type of galvanic reaction, as shown by 
Sidis and Kalmus,f does not depend upon the di- 

* Psycho-Physical Investigations with the Galvanometer and Pneu- 
mograph in Normal and Insane Individuals, Brain, Vol. XXX, July, 

f Psychological Seview, November, 1908, and January, 1909. 


minished resistance of the body to a galvanic cur- 
rent passing from without through the body, but is 
a current originating within the body under the in- 
fluence of emotion. Sidis and Kalmus concluded 
that " active psycho-physiological processes, sen- 
sory and emotional processes, with the exception of 
purely ideational ones, initiated in a living organ- 
ism, bring about electromotive forces with conse- 
quent galvanometric deflections." In a later series 
of experiments Sidis and Nelson * came to the con- 
clusion that the origin of the electromotive force 
causing the galvanic deflection was in the muscles. f 
Wells and Forbes, J on the other hand, conclude from 
their own investigation that the origin of the gal- 
vanic current is to be found in the sweat gland ac- 
tivity and believe the muscular origin improbable. 
From a clinical standpoint the question is unimpor- 

Sensory disturbances. On the sensory side the 
effect of emotions, particularly unpleasant ones, in 

* The Nature and Causation of the Galvanic Phenomena, Psycho- 
logical Review, March, 1910, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, June- 
July, 1910. 

f Having demonstrated the development of electromotive force 
within the body, these experimenters assumed that every psycho-gal- 
vanic reaction was of this type. But plainly, their results do not 
contradict the phenomenon of diminished resistance of the body to 
an electric current brought about by emotion stimulating the sweat 
glands. The evidence indicates, as I have said, two types of psycho- 
galvanic phenomena. 

J On Certain Electrical Processes in the Human Body and Their 
Eelation to Emotional Keactions, Archives of Psychology, March, 


awakening "thrills" and all sorts of sensations in 
different parts of the body is a matter of everyday 
observation. Nausea, dizziness, headache, pains of 
different kinds are common accompaniments. Such 
reactions, however, largely vary as idiosyncrasies 
of the individual, and are obviously not open to ex- 
perimentation or measurement. Whether they 
should be spoken of as physiological or aberrant re- 
actions is a matter of terminology. They are, how- 
ever, of common occurrence. In pathological condi- 
tions disagreeable sensations accompanying fear, 
grief, disgust, and other distressing forms of emo- 
tion often play a prominent part, and as symptoms 
contribute to the syndromes of the psychosis. The 
following quaintly described case quoted by Cannon 
from Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy is as good 
as a more modern illustration : "A gentlewoman of 
the same city saw a fat hog cut up ; when the entrails 
were opened, and a noisome savour offended her 
nose, she much disliked, and would not longer abide ; 
a physician in presence told her, as that hog, so was 
she full of filthy excrements, and aggravated the 
matter by some other loathsome instances, insomuch 
this nice gentlewoman apprehended it so deeply that 
she fell forthwith a vomiting; was so mightily dis- 
tempered in mind and body that, with all his art and 
persuasion, for some months after, he could not re- 
store her to herself again; she could not forget or 
remove the object out of her sight." Cannon re- 
marks : * * Truly, here was a moving circle of causa- 
tion, in which the physician himself probably played 


the part of a recurrent augmenter of the trouble. 
The first disgust disturbed the stomach, and the dis- 
turbance of the stomach, in turn, aroused in the 
mind greater disgust, and thus between them the in- 
fluences continued to and fro until digestion was 
impaired and serious functional derangement super- 
vened. The stomach is 'king of the belly,' quotes 
Burton, 'for if he is affected all the rest suffer with 
him.' " 

Such cases could be multiplied many fold from the 
records of every psychopathologist. I happen by 
chance to be interrupted while writing this page by 
a patient who presents herself suffering from a 
phobia of fainting. When this fear (possibly with 
other emotions) is awakened she is attacked by 
nausea and eructation of the gastric contents, and, 
if she takes food, by vomiting of the meal. (Owing 
to a misunderstanding of the true pathology by her 
physician, her stomach was washed out constantly 
for a period of two years without relief!) 

General psychopathology In the light of all these 
well-known physiological effects of emotion it is 
apparent that when an idea possessing a strong emo- 
tional tone, such as fear or its variants, enters con- 
sciousness, it is accompanied by a complex of physi- 
ological reactions. In other words, fear, as a bio- 
logical reaction of the organism to a stimulus, does 
not consist of the psychical element alone, but in- 
cludes a large syndrome of physiological processes. 


We can, indeed, theoretically construct a schema 
which would represent the emotional reaction. This 
schema would undoubtedly vary in detail in particu- 
lar cases, according to the excitability of the differ- 
ent visceral functions involved in different individu- 
als and to the mixture of the emotions taking part 
(fear, disgust, shame, anger, etc.). As one type, for 
instance, of a schema, taking only the most obtrusive 
phenomena which do not require special technique 
for their detection, we would have : 

Fear (or one of its variants, anxiety, apprehension, 
etc., or a compound emotion that includes fear). 

Inhibition of thought (confusion). 

Pallor of the skin. 

Increased perspiration. 

Cardiac palpitation. 

Respiratory disturbances. 


Muscular weakness. 

Gastric and intestinal disturbances. 

(Blushing or congestion of the skin would replace 
pallor if the fear was represented or accompanied 
by shame or bashfulness, etc. (self -debasement and 
self-consciousness),* or if the affective state was 

On the sensory side we would have various pares- 
thesiae varying with the idiosyncrasies of the indi- 

* Morbid self -consciousness is commonly accompanied by fear and 
other emotions. Nausea, although the specific manifestation of dis- 
gust, not rarely is induced by fear. 


vidual, and apparently dependent upon the paths 
through which the emotional energy is discharged: 


Feeling of oppression in the chest. 


Nausea (with or without vomiting). 

Pains, fatigue, etc. 

It is of practical importance to note that attacks 
of powerful emotions, according to common experi- 
ence, are apt to be followed by exhaustion; conse- 
quently in morbid fears fatigue is a frequent 

Physiological Mimicry of Disease. 

Now, theoretically, one or more of these physio- 
logical disturbances might be so obtrusive as to be 
the predominant feature of the syndrome and to 
mask the psychical element which might then be 
overlooked. Gastric and intestinal disturbances, for 
instance, or cardiac distress, might be so marked as 
not to be recognized as simply manifestations of an 
emotion, but be mistaken for true gastric, intestinal, 
or heart disease. Going one step further, if a per- 
son had a frequently recurring fear, as is so com- 
mon, and the physiological symptoms were obtru- 
sively predominant, these latter would necessarily 
recur in attacks and, overshadowing the psychical 
element, might well have all the appearance (both to 
the subject and the observer) of true disease of the 

Now, as a fact this theoretical possibility is just 


what happens. It is one of the commonest of oc- 
currences, although it is too frequently misunder- 
stood.* A person, we will say, has acquired owing 
to no matter what psychogenetic factor a recurrent 
fear. This fear, or, in less obtrusive form, anxiety, 
or apprehension, is, we will say, of disease heart 
disease or insanity or fainting or cancer or epilepsy 
or what not. It recurs from time to time when awak- 
ened by some thought or stimulus from the environ- 
ment. At once there is an outburst of physiological, 
i. e., functional disturbances, in the form of an " at- 
tack." There may be violent cardiac and respira- 
tory disease, tremor, flushing, perspiration, diar- 

* A good example is that of an extreme ' ' neurasthenic, ' ' who 
had been reduced to a condition of severe inanition from inability to 
take a proper amount of food because of failure of digestion, nausea, 
and vomiting. Examined by numerous and able physicians in this 
country and Europe, none had been able to recognize any organic 
disease or the true cause of the gastric difficulty which remained a 
puzzle. As a therapeutic measure her stomach had been continuously 
and regularly washed out. Yet it was not difficult to recognize, after 
analyzing the symptoms and the conditions of their occurrence, that 
the disturbances of the gastric functions were due to complex mental 
factors, the chief of which, emotion, inhibited the gastric function, 
as in Cannon's experiments, and indirectly or directly, induced the 
nausea and vomiting. The correctness of this diagnosis was recog- 
nized by the attending physician and patient. Sometimes a phobia 
complicates a true organic disease and produces symptoms which 
mimic the symptoms of the latter heart disease, for example. In 
this case it is often difficult to recognize the purely phobic character 
of the symptoms. O. H. C. was such a case. Though there was 
severe valvular disease of the heart, compensation was good and there 
was little if any cardiac disability. The attacks of dyspnoea and 
other symptoms were unmistakably the physical manifestation of a 
phobia of the disease. The phobia had been artificially created by 
overcautious physicians. 


rhoea, sensory disturbances, etc., followed by more 
or less lasting exhaustion. On the principle of com- 
plex building, which we have discussed in a previous 
lecture, the various physiological reactions em- 
braced in such a scheme as I have outlined tend to 
become welded into a complex (or association 
psycho-neurosis), and this complex of reactions in 
consequence recurs as a syndrome every time the 
fear is reexcited. On every occasion when the anx- 
iety recurs, a group of symptoms recurs which is 
made up of these physical manifestations of emo- 
tion which are peculiar to the individual case. The 
symptoms, unless a searching inquiry is made into 
their mode of onset, sequence, and associative rela- 
tions, will appear a chaotic mass of unrelated phe- 
nomena ; or only certain obtrusive ones, which in the 
mind of the patient point to disease of a particular 
organ, are described by him. The remainder have to 
be specifically sought for by the investigator. The 
latter, if experienced in such psycho-neuroses, can 
often from his knowledge of the phenomena of emo- 
tion anticipate the facts and in a large degree fore- 
tell to the patient the list of symptoms from which 
he suffers. By those who lack familiarity with these 
functional disturbances mistakes in diagnosis are 
frequently made. Disease of the heart, or of the 
stomach, or of the nervous system is frequently 
diagnosed when the symptoms are simply the 
product of emotion. Quite commonly, when the 
symptoms are less related to particular organs, but 
more conspicuously embrace vasomotor, sensory, 


digestive disturbances (inhibition of function), and 
fatigue, the syndrome is mistaken for so-called 
neurasthenia.* Thus it happens that in recurrent 
morbid fears known as the phobias or obsessions 
a group of symptoms are met with which at first 
sight appear to be unrelated bodily disturbances, 
but which when analyzed are seen to be only a cer- 
tain number of physiological manifestations of emo- 
tion welded into a complex. On every occasion that 
the fear recurs this complex is reproduced. 

It now remains to study the effect of the emotions 
on the psychical side. This we shall do in the next 

* One has only to compare routine out-patient hospital records 
with the actual state of patients to verify the truth of this state- 
ment. For purposes of instruction I have frequently done this before 
the class. The true nature of the psycho -neurosis and the irrele- 
vancy of the routine record and diagnosis have, I believe, been com- 
monly made manifest. Sometimes, however, of course, phobias com- 
plicate other diseases, and we have a mixed symptomatology. 


It is generally agreed that emotions proper (as 
distinguished from other affective states) may be 
divided into those which are primary (anger, fear, 
disgust, etc.), and those (jealousy, admiration, 
hatred, etc.), which are compounded of two or more 
primary emotions. McDougall has made a great 
contribution to our knowledge in having made clear 
that a primary emotion is not only instinctive, but 
is the central or psychical element in a reflex process 
consisting, besides, of an ingoing stimulus and an 
outgoing impulse. The whole process is the in- 
stinct.* It is of course innate, and depends on con- 

* . . . " Every instinctive process has the three aspects of all 
mental processes, the cognitive, the affective, and the conative. Now, 
the innate psychophysical disposition, which is an instinct, may be 
regarded as consisting of three corresponding parts, an afferent, a 
central, and a motor or efferent part, whose activities are the cog- 
nitive, the affective, and the conative features respectively of the 
total instinctive process. The afferent or receptive part of the totaJ 
disposition is some organized group of nervous elements or neurones 
that is specially adapted to receive and to elaborate the impulses 
initiated in the sense-organ by the native object of the instinct; its 
constitution and activities determine the sensory content of the psy- 
chophysical process. From the afferent part the excitement spreads 
over to the central part of the disposition; the constitution of this 
part determines in the main the distribution of the nervous impulses, 


genital prearrangements of the nervous system. 
The central element, the emotion, provides the cona- 
tive or impulse force which carries the instinct to 
fulfilment. It is the motive power, the dynamic 
agent that executes, that propels the response which 
follows the stimulus. Though we speak of anger 
and fear, for example, as instincts, McDougall is 
unquestionably right in insisting that more correctly 
speaking the activated instinct is a process in which 
the emotion is only one factor the psychical. The 
instincts of anger and fear should more precisely be 
termed respectively ' ' pugnacity with the emotion of 
anger ' ' and ' * flight with the emotion of fear. ' ' In the 
one case, the emotion, as the central reaction to a 
stimulus, by its conative force impels to pugnacity; 
in the other fear impels to flight; and so with the 
other instincts and their emotions which I would 
suggest may be termed arbitrarily the emotion-in- 
stincts, to distinguish them from the more general 
instincts and innate dispositions with which animal 
psychology chiefly deals, and in which the affective 

especially the impulses that descend to modify the working of the 
visceral organs, the heart, lungs, blood vessels, glands, etc., in the 
manner required for the most effective excitation of the instinctive 
action; the nervous activities of this central part are the correlates 
of the affective or emotional aspect or feature of the total physical 
process. The excitement of the efferent or motor part reaches it by 
the way of the central part; its construction determines the dis- 
tribution of impulses to the muscles of the skeletal system by which 
the instinctive action is effected, and its nervous activities are the 
correlates of the conative element of the physical process, of the felt 
impulse to action." William McDougall. An introduction to Social 
Psychology, p. 32. 


element is feebler or has less of the specific psychical 
quality. For brevity's sake, however, we may speak 
of the instinct of anger, fear, tender feeling, etc. Of 
course they are biological in their nature. 

This formulation, by McDougall, of emotion as 
one factor in an instinctive process must be re- 
garded as one of the most important contributions 
to our knowledge of the mechanism of emotion. It 
can scarcely be traversed, as it is little more than a 
descriptive statement of observed facts. It is 
strange that this conception of the process should 
have been so long overlooked. Its value lies in re- 
placing vagueness with a precise conception of one 
of the most important of psychological phenomena, 
and enables us to clearly understand the part played 
by emotion in mental processes. It also shows 
clearly the inadequacy of the objective methods of 
normal psychology when attempting to investigate 
emotion by measuring the discharge of its impulsive 
force in one direction only, namely, the disturbances 
of the functions of the viscera (vasomotor, glandu- 
lar, etc.). It discharges also along lines of mental 
activity and conduct. 

When studying the organization of complexes, 
and in other lectures, we saw, as everyone knows in 
a general way, that affects may become linked with 
ideas, and that the force derived from this associa- 
tion gives to the ideas intensity and conative influ- 
ence. Further, it was developed that the linking of 
a strong affect tends to stronger registration and 
conservation of experiences. This linking of an af- 


feet to an idea is one of the foundation stones of 
the pathology of the psycho-neuroses. One might 
say that upon it "hangs all the law and the 
prophets. ' ' 

Inasmuch as a sentiment, even in the connotations 
of popular language, besides being an idea always 
involves an affective element, it is obvious that a 
sentiment is an idea of an object with which one or 
more emotions are organised. But, obvious as it is, 
it remained for Mr. Shand, as McDougall reminds 
us, to make this precise definition. It is hardly a 
discovery as the latter puts it, as the facts them- 
selves have been long known; but it is a valuable 
definition and its value lies in helping us to think 
clearly. Nearly every idea, if not every idea, has an 
affective tone of some kind, or is one of a complex of 
ideas endowed with such tone. This tone may be 
weak so as to be hardly recognizable, or it may be 
strong. Now, if emotion is one factor in an instinc- 
tive process, it is evident that a sentiment more pre- 
cisely is an idea of an object linked or organized 
with one or more "emotion-instincts." As Mc- 
Dougall has precisely phrased it, "A sentiment is 
an organized system of emotional dispositions cen- 
tered about the idea of some object." The impul- 
sive force of the emotional dispositions or linked 
instincts becomes the conative force of the idea, and 
it is this factor which carries the idea to fruition. 
This is one of the most important principles of func- 
tional psychology. Its value can scarcely be exag- 


gerated. Without the impulse of a linked emotion 
ideas would be lifeless, dead, inert, incapable of de- 
termining conduct. But when we say that an emo- 
tion becomes linked to, i. e., organized with that com- 
posite called an idea, we really mean (according to 
this theory of emotion) that it is the whole instinct, 
the emotional innate disposition of which the emo- 
tion is only a part that is so linked. The instinct has 
also afferent and efferent activities. The latter is 
an impulsive or conative force discharged by the 
emotion. Thus the affective element of an instinc- 
tive process a process which is a biological reaction 
provides the driving force, makes the idea a 
dynamic factor, moves us to carry the idea to fulfil- 
ment. As McDougall has expressed it: 

"We may say, then, that directly or indirectly the instincts are 
the prime movers of all human activity; by the conative or im- 
pulsive force of some instinct (or of some habit derived from 
some instinct), every train of thought, however cold and passion- 
less it may seem, is borne along toward its end, and every bodily 
activity is initiated and sustained. The instinctive impulses de- 
termine the ends of all activities and supply the driving power 
by which all mental activities are sustained; and all the complex 
intellectual apparatus of the most highly developed mind is but 
a means toward these ends, is but the instrument by which these 
impulses seek their satisfactions, while pleasure and pain do but 
serve to guide them in their choice of the means. 

"Take away these instinctive dispositions with their powerful 
impulses, and the organism would become incapable of activity of 
any kind ; it would lie inert and motionless like a wonderful clock- 
work whose mainspring had been removed, or a steam engine 
whose fires had been drawn. These impulses are the mental forces 
that maintain and shape all the life of individuals and societies, 


and in them we are confronted with the central mystery of life 
and mind and will." * 

Furthermore the organization of the emotions 
with ideas to form sentiments is essential for self- 
control and regulation of conduct, and becomes a 
safeguard against mental, physiological, and social 

"The growth of the sentiments is of the utmost importance for 
the character and conduct of individuals and of societies; it is the 
organization of the affective and conative life. In the absence of 
sentiments our emotional life would be a mere chaos, without 
order, consistency, or continuity of any kind; and all our social 
relations and conduct, being based on the emotions and their im- 
pulses, would be correspondingly chaotic, unpredictable, and un- 
stable. It is only through the systematic organization of the emo- 
tional dispositions in sentiments that the volitional control of the 
immediate promptings of the emotions is rendered possible. Again, 
our judgments of value and of merit are rooted in our sentiments; 
and our moral principles have the same source, for they are 
formed by our judgments of moral value." f 

Summing up, then, we may say one of the chief 
functions of emotion is to provide the conative force 
which enables ideas to fulfill their aims, and one 
of the chief functions of sentiments to control and 
regulate the emotions. 

Besides the instinctive dispositions proper there 
are other innate dispositions which similarly pro- 
vide conative force and determine activities. For 

* Social Psychology, p. 44. 
t Ibid, p. 159. 


the practical purposes of the problems with which 
we are concerned, the conative or impulsive forces 
of all such innate dispositions and the sentiments 
which they help to form are here, it should be under- 
stood, considered together and included under in- 

The conative function of emotion I shall take up in a 
later lecture * (in connection with the psychogenesis 
of multiple personality) the instincts and senti- 
ments for discussion in more detail. The point to 
which I wish in this connection to call attention is 
that when a simple emotion-instinct, or an idea 
linked with an instinct (a sentiment) is awakened 
by any stimulus, its impulsive force is discharged 
in three directions: the first is toward the excitation 
of those articulated movements and ideas which 
guide and carry the instinct to fruition to fight in 
the case of anger, to flee in the case of fear, to cher- 
ish in the case of love, etc. Second (accessory to the 
first) the excitation of many of the various visceral 
functions which we have reviewed reinforces the in- 
stinctive movements; e. g., for pugnacity or flight 
the increased respiration and activity of the heart 
increase the supply of oxygen and blood to the mus- 
cles; the secretion of sweat regulates the tempera- 
ture during increased activity, the increased secre- 
tion of adrenalin and the increased secretion of 
sugar may, as Cannon suggests, respectively keep 
up the emotional state (after the cause of the fear 

* Not included in this volume. 


or anger has subsided) and meet the demand of the 
muscles for an extra supply of food, etc. 

Later experiments of Cannon seem to show that 
the adrenal secretion removes the fatigue of mus- 
cles ; and, further, that stimulation of -the splanchic 
nerves will largely recover fatigued muscles, in- 
creasing the efficiency as much as 100 per cent.* As 
emotion discharges its impulses along splanchic 
pathways to the adrenal glands, the inference as to 
the function of emotion in overcoming fatigue is 

As to the sensory accompaniments of emotion, it 
is quite reasonable to suppose that their role is to 
supplement and reinforce in consciousness the af- 
fect, thereby aiding in arousing the individual to a 
full appreciation of the situation and to such volun- 
tary effort (whether to guide and assist the instinct 
to its fulfillment or to repress it) as, in the light of 
past experiences, his judgment dictates. These 
sensory disturbances on this theory act as additional 
warnings in consciousness where the affect proper 
might be too weak.f Their function would be like 
that of pain in the case of organic disease. Pain 
is a biological reaction and a warning to the indi- 
vidual to rest the diseased part,} as well as a danger 

The third direction which the discharge of the 

* Personally communicated. 

t This theory of the part played by the sensory accompaniments 
of visceral activity I would suggest as a substitute for the James- 
Lange theory. 

$ Hilton : Best and Pain. 


impulsive force of the emotion takes is toward the 
repression of the conflicting conative force of such 
other emotions as would act in an antagonistic di- 
rection.* The utility of the discharge in this direc- 
tion is supplementary to that of the excitation of the 
visceral functions: the former protects against the 
invasion of counteracting forces, the latter strength- 
ens the force of the impulse in question. 

Conflicts thus arise. "When an emotion is aroused 
a conflict necessarily occurs between its impulse and 
that of any other existing affective state, the im- 
pulse of which is antagonistic to the aim of the for- 
mer. Consequently instincts and sentiments which, 
through the conative force of their emotion, tend 
to drive the conduct of the individual in a course in 
opposition to that of a newly aroused emotion (in- 
stinct) meet with resistance. Whichever instinct or 
sentiment, meaning whichever impulse, is the 
stronger necessarily downs the other; inhibits the 
central and efferent parts of the process ideas, 
emotions and impulses though the afferent part 
conveys the stimulus to the central factor. Thus 
processes of thought to which the inhibited senti- 
ment or instinct would normally give rise, or 
with which it is systematized, are likewise inhib- 
ited and behavior correspondingly modified. These 
statements are only descriptive of what is common 
experience. If one recalls to mind the principal 
primary emotions (instincts) such as the sexual, an- 

* Note analogues in Sherrington 's mechanism of the spinal re- 


ger, fear, tender feeling, hunger, self-abasement, 
self-assertion, curiosity, etc., this is seen to be an 
obvious biological truth.* Fear is suppressed by 
anger, tender feeling, or curiosity (wonder), and 
vice versa; hunger and the sexual instinct by dis- 

What is true of the primitive instincts and 
their primary emotions is also true of compound 
instincts (emotions) and of sentiments, i. e., ideas 
about which one or several emotions are systema- 
tized. We may, therefore, for brevity's sake, speak 
of a conflict of ideas or sentiments or emotions or 
instincts indiscriminately. In other words, any af- 
fective state may be suppressed by conflict with an- 
other and stronger affective state. A timid mother, 
impelled by the parental instinct, has no fear of 
danger to herself when her child is threatened. The 
instinct of pugnacity (anger) in this case not being 
antagonistic (in conflict) is not only not suppressed 
but may be awakened as a reaction to aid in the 
expression of the parental instinct. Per contra, 
when anger would conflict with this instinct, as when 
the child does wrong, the anger is suppressed by 
the parental instinct. Conversely, the sentiment 
of love for a particular person may be completely 
suppressed by jealousy and anger. Hatred of a 
person may expel from consciousness previous sen- 
timents of sympathy, justice, pity, respect, fear, etc. 
The animal under the influence of the parental in- 

* I follow in the main McDougall 's classification as sufficiently 
adequate and accurate for our purposes. 


stinct may be incapable of fear in defense of its 
young, particularly if anger is excited. Fear may 
be suppressed in an animal or human being if either 
is impelled by great curiosity over a strange object. 
Instead of taking to flight, the animal may stand 
still in wonder. Similarly in man, curiosity to ex- 
amine, for example, an explosive an unexploded 
shell or bomb inhibits the fear of danger often, as 
we know, with disastrous results. The suppression 
of the sexual instinct by conflict is one of the most 
notorious of the experiences of this kind in every- 
day life. This instinct cannot be excited during an 
attack of fear and anger, and even during moments 
of its excitation, if there is an invasion of another 
strong emotion the sexual instinct at once is re- 
pressed. Under these conditions, as with other 
instincts, even habitual excitants can no longer ini- 
tiate the instinctive process. Chloe would appeal in 
vain to her lover if he were suddenly seized with 
fright or she had inadvertently awakened in him 
an intense jealousy or anger. Similarly the instinct 
may be suppressed, particularly in men, as every 
psycho-pathologist has observed, by the awakening 
of the instinct of self -subjection with its emotion 
of self-abasement (McDougall) with fear, shown in 
the sentiments of incapacity, shame, etc. The au- 
thors of "Vous n'avez rien a declarer" makes this 
the principal theme in this laughable drama. In- 
deed the principle of the suppression of one instinct 
by conflict with another has been made use of by 
writers of fiction and drama in all times. 


This principle of inhibition by conflict allows us 
to understand the imperative persistence (if not 
the genesis) of certain sexual perversions in other- 
wise healthy-minded and normal people who have 
a loathing for such perversions in other people but 
can not overcome them in themselves. H. 0., for 
example, has such a perversion, and yet the idea 
of this perversion in another person excites a lively 
emotion of disgust. In other words, at bottom, as 
we say, she is right-minded. How then account for 
the continuance of a self practice which she repro- 
bates in another, censures in herself, and desires to 
be free of, and why does not the instinct of repul- 
sion, and the sentiment of self respect, etc., act in 
herself as a safeguard? Introspective examination 
shows that when the sexual emotion is awakened, 
disgust and the sentiments of pride and self respect 
are suppressed, and the momentarily activating in- 
stinct determines all sorts of sophistical reasoning 
by which the perversion is justified to herself. As 
soon as the instinct accomplishes its aim it becomes 
exhausted, and at once intense disgust, meeting with 
no opposition, becomes awakened and in turn de- 
termines once more her right-minded ideas. Based 
upon this mechanism one therapeutic procedure 
would be to organize artificially so intense senti- 
ments of disgust for the perversion and of self-re- 
spect that they would suppress the sexual impulse.* 

Likewise the intense religious emotions (awe, rev- 
erence, self-abasement, divine love, etc.) may, if 

* In fact, this was successfully done. 


sufficiently strong, suppress the opposing instincts 
of anger, fear, play, and self-assertion, and emotions 
compounded of them. Examples might be cited 
from the lives of religious martyrs and fanatics. 

If it is true that ''the instincts are the prime 
movers of all human activity," and that through 
their systematic organization with ideas into senti- 
ments they are so harnessed and brought under 
subjection that they can be utilized for the well- 
being of the individual; and if through this har- 
nessing the immediate promptings of the emotions 
are brought under volitional control, then all con- 
duct, in the last analysis, is determined by the cona- 
tive force of instincts * (and other innate disposi- 
tions) harnessed though they be to ideas. For 
though volition itself can control, reinforce, and de- 
termine the particular sentiment and thus govern 
conduct, reinforce, for instance, a weaker abstract 
moral sentiment so that it shall dominate any lower 
brutish instinct or sentiment with which it conflicts, 
still, volition must be a more complex form of cona- 
tion and itself issue from sentiments. 

We need not enter into this troublesome problem 
of the nature of the willjf nor does it concern us. 

* For purposes of simplification I leave aside feelings of pleas- 
ure and pain, excitement and depression, for though their main func- 
tions may be only to guide or shape the actions prompted by the 
instincts, as McDougall affirms, still I think there is sound reason to 
believe that feelings also have conative force and are cooperative im- 
pulsive factors. 

f McDougall has proposed the ingenious theory that that which 
we understand, properly speaking, by "will" is a complex form of 

It is enough for our purpose to recognize that voli- 
tion can reinforce a sentiment and thus take part 
in conflicts. In this way undesirable instincts and 
sentiments can be voluntarily overcome and in- 
hibited or repressed and mental processes and con- 
duct determined. 

Nor are we concerned here with conduct which 
pertains more properly to social psychology. Our 
task is much more limited and simple, namely to 
inquire into the immediate conscious phenomena 
provoked by emotion, just as we have studied the 
physiological phenomena. We have seen that one 
such phenomenon is inhibition or repression of an- 
tagonistic instincts and sentiments provoked by con- 
flict. (We shall see later that a conflict may arise 

conation issuing from a particular sentiment, viz., the complexly 
organized sentiment of self ("self -regarding sentiment"). The be- 
havior immediately determined by the primitive instincts and other 
sentiments cannot be classed as volition, but should be regarded as 
simple instinctive conation. When, therefore, the will reinforces a 
sentiment and determines conduct it is the self -regarding sentiment 
which provides the "volitional" impulse and is the controlling fac- 
tor. If this theory should stand it would give a satisfactory solution 
of this difficult question. Perhaps it receives some support on the 
part of abnormal psychology in that certain observations seem to 
show, if I correctly interpret them, that self -consciousness is a com- 
plex capable of being dissociated like any idea or sentiment. I shall 
presently describe a quasi-pathological state which may be called 
depersonalization. In this state the "conscious intelligence" present 
is able to think and reason logically and sanely, is capable of good 
judgments, and has an unusually large field of memory, in short, is a 
very intelligent consciousness; nevertheless, it exhibits a very strange 
phenomenon: it has lost all consciousness of self; it has no sense of 
personality, of anything to which the term "I" can be applied. 
This sentiment seems to be absolutely dissociated in this state. 


between a conscious and an entirely subconscious 
sentiment with similar resulting phenomena.) 

Repression of individual instincts may be lasting The 
repressions resulting from conflict which we have 
just been considering have been of a temporary na- 
ture lasting only just so long as the conflict has 
lasted. It is instructive to note that just as an 
instinct can be cultivated until it becomes a ruling 
trait in the character, so it can be permanently re- 
pressed, or so intensely repressed that it cannot be 
awakened excepting by unusual excitants or under 
unusual conditions. Such a persisting repression 
may be brought about either directly by volitional 
conflict or indirectly through the cultivation of an- 
tagonistic sentiments. The cultivation of an in- 
stinct is a common enough observation. Every one 
can point to some one of his acquaintance who has 
so fostered his instinct of anger or fear, has so 
cultivated the habit of one or the other reaction that 
he has become the slave of his emotion. Conversely, 
by the conative force of the will, and still more suc- 
cessfully by the cultivation of appropriate moral 
and religious and other sentiments, and complexes 
or " settings" systematized about those sentiments, 
a person can inhibit any instinct or any sentiment 
organized with that instinct. A bad-tempered per- 
son can thus, if he chooses, become good-tempered; 
a coward, a brave person ; a person governed by the 
instinct of self-subjection can repress it by the cul- 
tivation of sentiments of self-assertion, and so on. 


The complete repression of unchristian instincts 
and sentiments is the acquired characteristic of 
the saintly character. The cultivation and repres- 
sion of character traits and tendencies along these 
lines obviously belong to the domains of the psy- 
chology of character, social psychology, and crimin- 
ology. But the persisting repression of at least 
one instinct the sexual instinct may take on 
pathological significance * while that of sentiments 
may lead to pathological dissociation and to the 
formation of disturbing subconscious states. To 
this latter type of repression we shall presently re- 

That the sexual instinct may be involuntarily and 
persistently repressed by conflict is shown by the 
following case: 

F. S. presented herself at the hospital clinic be- 
cause of hysterical epileptiform attacks of six 
months' duration. The attacks, which had been 
caused by an emotional trauma, were easily cured 
by suggestion. After recovery she fell into lamen- 
tations over the fact that she was sterile owing to 
both ovaries having been removed three years be- 

* The repression of the sexual instinct and of sexual wishes plays 
the dominant role in the Freudian psychology. If a wish may be 
correctly denned psychologically as the impulsive force of a sentiment 
striving toward an end plus the pleasurable feeling resulting from 
the imagined attainment of that end, i. e., the imagined gratification 
of the impulse, then the repression of a wish belongs to the phe- 
nomena of repressed sentiments rather than of primitive instincts. 
This distinction, I think, is of some importance, as will appear when 
we consider subconscious sentiments. 


fore because of pelvic disease. Just before the 
operation she had also suffered from an emotional 
trauma (fear). Although complete recovery from 
her symptoms had followed the operation, the sex- 
ual instinct had been abolished for three years. She 
was now much distressed over her inability to have 
children, complaining it had led to domestic in- 
felicity, and apprehending divorce which had been 
threatened on the ground of her sterility. Having 
confidence in the strength of certain fundamental 
principles of human nature, and disbelieving the 
reasons alleged by the husband for divorce, I was 
able to restore domestic felicity, as well as demon- 
strate the psycho-physiological principle that the 
instinct was not lost but only inhibited. A single 
suggestion in hypnosis, psychologically constructed 
so as to bear a strong conative impulse that would 
overcome any other conflicting affective impulses 
and carry itself to fruition, restored not only the 
lost function * but conjugal happiness. That the in- 
stinct had only been inhibited is obvious. Whether 
the repressing factor had been fear or an involun- 
tary auto-suggestion was not determined. 

The following case is instructive not only because 
of the lasting dissociation of this instinct as a 

* In making use of suggestion for therapeutic purposes it is es- 
sential to construct one with strong emotional tones and pleasurable 
and exalting feelings for the purposes of increasing resistances to 
contrary impulses, and carrying the suggestion to fruition. This I 
believe to be one of the secrets of successful suggestive procedure. 
The construction of an effective suggestion is an art in itself and 
must be based on the psychological conditions existing in each case. 


result of a conflict, but because the dissociation was 
volitionally and intentionally effected as a revenge. 
Other interesting features are the transference of 
the repressing revenge affect to an object (clothes 
which became an amulet or fetish to protect from 
sexual approaches, and the building of a complex 
("raw oyster") which became the bearer of the 
repressing force. X. Y. Z. received a deep wound 
to her pride on the first night of her honeymoon 
when her husband forgot his bride of a few hours 
who was awaiting him in the nuptial chamber. 
Happening to meet in the hotel some political ac- 
quaintances after the bride had retired, he became 
absorbed in a political discussion and forgot! 
When he appeared after a prolonged absence and 
presented his excuses she was hurt in her pride 
and offended to think that she was of so little im- 
portance to him that he could become interested in 
talking politics.* There was anger too, and she 
vowed to herself to show, or, to use her own words, 
she " would be hanged if" she would show that she 
had any liking for or any interest in the marital 
intimacy. (She had never hitherto experienced any 
sexual feelings and, like most young girls, was en- 
tirely ignorant of the physical side. Nevertheless, 
from what she had been told, she had idealized the 

* Of course this attitude is not to be viewed as an isolated event 
standing all alone by itself. It must be read like nearly all events 
of life in relation to a series of antecedent events. These, to her, 
had denoted indifference, and now on this crucial occasion formed the 
real setting and gave the offensive meaning to her spouse's forget- 


spiritual union of husband and wife and anticipated 
pleasurable experiences.) So purposely she re- 
pressed any interest, made herself absolutely in- 
different to her spouse's amorous attentions and 
experienced absolutely no sexual feeling; and so 
it continued for some days. In view of what later 
happened, and what we know of conflicts, we must 
believe that the impulses which carried her volition 
to fruition came from the emotions of anger, pride, 
and revenge. 

Then one afternoon, just after she had finished 
dressing herself preparatory to going out, her hus- 
band came into her room and made advances to 
her. The idea appealed to her and she became 
emotionally excited at the thought. But in the 
middle of the act when the libido began to be 
aroused, suddenly she remembered that she had been 
snubbed at the first and that her role was to show 
no liking or interest. There were reawakened the 
emotions of pride, anger, and revenge, although not 
malicious revenge. Impelled by these emotions she 
actually gave herself suggestions to effect her pur- 
pose a determination to get square with the past. 
She said to herself, "I must not like it; I must put 
it away back in my mind, I must become flabby as 
an oyster." Thereupon she became "perfectly 
limp and uninterested and the feelings of flabbiness 
came over" her, and the beginning sexual feeling 
subsided at once. (That day she had eaten some 
raw oysters and had been impressed by them as the 
essence of flabbiness.) She admitted having con- 


timied during succeeding years to cherish this re- 
vengeful feeling as to the sexual relation to get 
square with the past. She defended it, however, 
(although admitting the childishness of the original 
episode) on the ground that the slight to her pride 
must be viewed in connection with a long series of 
antecedent experiences. These must therefore be 
viewed as the setting which gave meaning to her 
idea of sexual relations with her husband. After 
this at the sexual approach under conventional 
marital conditions she for a time always volition- 
ally induced this flabby ' ' raw-oyster ' ' sensation and 
feeling. Later it would automatically arise at the 
first indication or suggestion of the approach and 
counteract the libido. It was now no longer neces- 
sary to be on guard, knowing she could not be taken 
unawares. The consequence has been that the pa- 
tient has never consciously experienced any sexual 
feeling beyond those first beginnings at the time 
of the experience when she was fully dressed. The 
patient can produce the "raw-oyster" state at will 
and exhibited it voluntarily during the examination. 
The state as then observed was one of lethargy or 
extreme relaxation. There was no general anaes- 
thesia; pinching and pricking was felt perfectly, 
but, as she remarked, they carried no sensation of 
discomfort. "I do not care at the moment," she 
explained, * ' what any one does to me ; no sensation 
would cause pleasure or discomfort." To arouse 
the state she thinks of the sexual approach first, 
and then the state comes. The sexual instinct has 


never been aroused by reading, or associative ideas 
of any kind. "It does not exist," to quote her 

Clothes became an amulet of protection in the 
following way : Ever since that afternoon when she 
was taken unawares in her clothes (and "almost 
liked it") she realized and feared that sexual ap- 
proaches when she was fully clothed might arouse 
the sexual instinct. Consequently she was more on 
her guard when fully clothed than at night for 
fear of being taken unawares. The idea that she 
must be on her guard when clothed became fixed, 
and, at first, when in this condition, she was always 
on her guard ready to defend herself by pugnacity. 
Then any approach at such times, if accompanied 
by physical contact, awakened an instinctive reac- 
tion which became a defense; it aroused the in- 
stincts of fear and anger. Any affectionate demon- 
stration suggestive of the approach on the part of 
her husband would arouse these defensive instincts. 
On the other hand, when half dressed there has 
been no such ebullition of emotion ; she has in conse- 
quence always believed that having clothes on would 
protect her against admirers. Indeed, as a fact, 
this is so, for any show of affection from any one 
manifested by a touch, even the friendly pat of the 
hand, will cause an unnecessary and unreasonable 
outburst of uncontrollable anger, such as to aston- 
ish and startle the offender. Clothes, becoming 
thus a sentiment in which the instincts of flight and 
pugnacity are incorporated, have also become a pro- 


tection in themselves an amulet to ward off dan- 

What reason, it may be asked, is there for believ- 
ing that the sexual instinct really exists in this case, 
and is only repressed or dissociated? I may not 
state all the reasons ; it is sufficient to say that the 
evidence is to be found in dreams. The large num- 
ber of sexual dreams which the subject has experi- 
enced, many of them accompanied by realistic sex- 
ual manifestations and not symbolic only, leave no 
doubt of this fact.* 

Conflicts with subconscious sentiments. Thus 
far we have been considering conflicts between sen- 
timents and emotional processes which have been 
in the full light of consciousness. But in previous 
lectures we have seen that ideas with strong emo- 
tional tones may be dissociated and function below 
the threshold of consciousness as coconscious proc- 
esses. It is theoretically possible, therefore, that 
conflicts might arise between a dissociated cocon- 
scious sentiment and one that is antagonistic to 
it in consciousness. To appreciate this theoretical 
condition let me point out that there is one impor- 
tant difference between the ultimate consequences 
of the repression of an instinct and of a sentiment. 

* Notwithstanding the frequency with which asexuality is met 
with in women, I am strongly inclined to the opinion that the sexual 
instinct in the sex is never really absent, excepting, of course, in late 
life and in organic disease. No woman is born without it. When 
apparently absent it is only inhibited or dissociated by the subtle in- 
fluences of the environment, education, conflicting sentiments, etc. 


If an instinct is repressed (it being only an innate 
disposition) it ceases to be an active factor in the 
functioning organism. It is inhibited. A stimulus 
that ordinarily suffices to excite it fails to do so, 
and it may respond only to an extraordinarily pow- 
erful stimulus, or perhaps none will awaken it. 
Thus abstinence from food fails to awaken a sense 
of hunger in a person who has lost this instinct for 
any reason, even though appetizing food be placed 
before him.* Similarly anger, or fear, or tender 
emotion, or self-assertion, or disgust, in certain 
persons cannot be awakened excepting by very un- 
usual stimuli. In other words, the psycho-physi- 
ological reflex is completely or relatively in abey- 
ance just as much so as is an organic reflex (e. g., 
the knee-jerk) which has been inhibited. Normally, 
of course, it is rare for an instinct to be absolutely 
inhibited excepting temporarily, as has been ex- 
plained, during a conflict with another instinct. In 
certain pathological conditions (e. g., dissociated 
personality), almost any instinct may be persist- 
ently inhibited. In normal conditions there is, how- 
ever, one exception, namely the sexual instinct, 
which, as we have seen from instances cited, may 
be inhibited during long periods of time. In women 
this inhibition is common and is effected, as I be- 
lieve, by the subtle and insensible influence of the 
environment of the child and by social education, 
in other words, by the social taboo. Wherever 

* A distinction should bo made between hunger and appetite. 
Food may excite appetite, although hunger has been appeased. 


inhibition occurs observation would seem to show 
that the psycho-physiological function has ceased 
to take part in the functioning organism. 

With sentiments, however, the case stands dif- 
ferently. A sentiment, being an idea about which 
a system of emotional dispositions has been organ- 
ized, when repressed by conflict, or when simply out 
of mind, whether capable of reproduction as mem- 
ory or not, may, like all ideas, still be conserved, as 
we have seen, as an unconscious neurogram. As we 
have also seen, so long as it is conserved it is still 
a part of the personality. Even though repressed 
it is not necessarily absolutely inhibited but may 
be simply dissociated and then be able to take on 
dissociated subconscious activity. As a subcon- 
scious process the idea continues still organized 
with its emotional -dispositions, and the conative 
forces of these, under certain conditions, may con- 
tinue striving to give expression to the idea. We 
have already become familiar with one phenomenon 
of this striving, namely, the emerging into con- 
sciousness of the emotional element of the senti- 
ment while the idea remains subconscious, thus 
producing an unaccountable fear or joy, feelings of 
pleasure or pain, etc. (p. 381). 

1. This being so, it having been determined that 
under certain conditions any conserved experi- 
ence may become activated as a dissociated sub- 
conscious process, it is theoretically quite possible 
that the impulses of an activated subconscious sen- 
timent might come into conflict with the impulses of 


a conscious process the two being antagonistic. 
The resulting phenomena might be the same as 
when both factors to the contest are in conscious- 
ness. In such a conflict if the impulsive force of 
the subconscious sentiment is the stronger the con- 
scious ideas, sentiments, and feelings in short, the 
conscious process would be repressed, and vice 
versa. Or if the subconscious sentiment got the 
worst of the conflict and could not repress the con- 
scious process, the former, being dissociated and 
an independent "automatic" process, might theo- 
retically induce various other phenomena in the 
effort to fulfil its aim. If it could not directly over- 
come the impulses of the conscious process it might 
circumvent the latter by inducing mental and physi- 
ological disturbances which would indirectly pre- 
vent the conscious impulses from fulfilling their 
aim; e. g., inhibition of the will, dissociation or 
total inhibition of consciousnes, amnesia for par- 
ticular memories, motor phenomena interfering 
with normal activity, etc. The subconscious senti- 
ment engaging in such a conflict could be excited 
to activity by any associative antagonistic idea in 
consciousness. It should be noted that the subject 
being entirely unaware of the subconscious process 
would not know the cause of the resulting phe- 

2. Now, in fact, such hypothetical conflicts and 
phenomena are actually observed in very neat and 
precise form under experimental conditions, par- 
ticularly in pathological or quasi-pathological sub- 


jects. These conditions are particularly instruc- 
tive as they allow us to clearly recognize the sub- 
conscious character of the conflicting process and 
detect the exact sentiment concerned therein. 

The following experiment illustrative of such a 
conflict between a conscious and subconscious proc- 
ess I have repeated many times in one subject with 
the same resulting phenomenon. It has been 
demonstrated on several occasions to psychologists 
and others. On the first occasion when the phe- 
nomenon was observed it was entirely spontaneous 
and unexpected as also has since been frequently 
the case. 

B. C. A. in one phase of alternating personality 

(B) was asked to mention a certain complex of 
ideas which was known to have been organized 
about a distressing "sentiment" in another phase 

(C) causing considerable unhappiness. This sen- 
timent included a strong emotion of pride in conse- 
quence of which she had in the C phase intense 
objections to revealing these ideas. As she herself 
said, she "would have gone to the stake first." 
Phase B has no such sentiment, but on the contrary 
the ideas in question were only amusing to her.* 

* Note that the same idea forms different sentiments in different 
phases or moods, according to the emotions with which it is linked. 
In this case, in phase C, it is linked with mortification, self-abase- 
ment, possibly anger, pride, and feelings of pain and depression; 
in phase B, with joyful emotions and feelings of pleasure and ex- 
citement. Also note that the former sentiment, although out of mind 
at the time of the observation, is conserved in the unconscious. 


In phase B, therefore, she not only had no objection 
to revealing the sentiment distressing to C but de- 
sired for therapeutic reasons to do so. In accord- 
ance with this difference of sentiments the differ- 
ence in the attitude of mind in the two phases 
toward the same experience was quite striking. The 
impulse in the one was to conceal the experiences 
and sentiment, in the other to divulge them. 

Now, in reply to an interrogatory as to what was 
distressing in the C phase, B begins to mention the 
sentiment. At once, and to her astonishment, her 
lips and tongue are tied by painful spasms involv- 
ing, also, the throat muscles. She becomes dumb, 
unable to overcome the resistance. She struggles 
in vain to speak. When she gives up the struggle 
to pronounce the forbidden words she speaks with 
ease on other subjects saying "something pre- 
vented me from speaking." Each time that she 
endeavors to turn State's evidence and to peach 
on herself, the same struggle is repeated. When 
she persists in her effort, using all her will-power, 
the effect of the conflicting force extends to con- 
sciousness. Her thoughts become first confused, 
then obliterated, and she falls back in her seat limp, 
paralyzed, and apparently unconscious. The 
thoughts to which she strove to give expression have 
disappeared. She now cannot even will to speak. 

But she is not really unconscious, it is only an- 
other phase; there is only a dissociation or inhibi- 
tion of the consciousness comprising the system of 
ideas making up the B phase and an awakening of 


another restricted system. When automatic writ- 
ing is tried, it is found that a limited field of con- 
sciousness is present in which are to be found the 
ideas which opposed the resistance. A precise 
statement of the opposing factors (volition) which 
offered the resistance and brought about the con- 
flict, the spasm of the vocal apparatus, and finally 
inhibition or dissociation of consciousness, is ob- 
tained from this dissociated restricted field.* 

This phenomenon carries its own interpretation 
on its face and cannot be doubted. Certain senti- 
ments, for the moment dormant and outside the 
focus of awareness of the subject, are ''struck" or 
stimulated by memories within that focus. The 
conative force of the conscious wishes to which the 
subject seeks to give expression meets with the re- 
sistance of a similar and more powerful force from 
the previously dormant sentiment. The latter car- 
ries itself to fulfilment and controls the vocal ap- 
paratus at first, and then, finding itself likely to be 
overcome by the will-power of the personality, an- 
nihilates the latter by the inhibition and dissocia- 
tion of consciousness. 

Various forms of the same phenomenon of con- 
flict with subconscious processes I have experi- 
mentally demonstrated in Miss B. and 0. N. 
Spontaneous manifestations of the same have also 

* At first the subject (B) had no anticipation or supposition that 
such a conflict would occur. Later she learned after repeated expe- 
riences to anticipate the probable consequences of trying to tell tales- 
out-of -school. 


been frequently observed in all three subjects. In 
the published account of Miss B.* numerous ex- 
amples are given. I will merely refer to the attacks 
of aboulia, the dissociations of consciousness and 
inhibition of thought, and of speech resulting in 
stuttering and dumbness, the inhibition of motor 
activity, the induction of systematized anesthesia 
and alexia, etc. In the prolonged study of the case 
I was the witness, I was going to say, of innumera- 
ble exhibitions of such manifestations, and the book 
is replete with examples of conflicts between oppos- 
ing mental processes. B. C. A. in her account, * * My 
Life as a Dissociated Personality, ' ' f has described 
similar spontaneous phenomena. It is worth noting 
in this connection that the commonplace phenomena 
of systematized anesthesia (negative hallucina- 
tions) may be induced by conflict with a subcon- 
scious process motivated by strong emotion. Thus 
Miss B. in one of her phases could not see the writ- 
ing on a sheet of paper which appeared blank to 
her; on another occasion she could not see the 
printing of the pages of a French novel which she 
therefore took to be a blank book, nor could she 
see a bookcase containing French books. The sub- 
conscious conflicting ideas were motivated by anger 
in the one case and jealousy in the other. That the 
conflicting ideas in this case were elements synthe- 
sized in a large dissociated system or subconscious 

* The Dissociation, see Index: "Subconscious ideas." 

t Journal of Abnormal Psychology, October-November, 1908. 

The Dissociation, p. 538. 


self in no way affects the principle, which is that 
of conflict between processes. The conflicting proc- 
ess in such conditions is a more complex one, that 
is all. Undoubtedly the systematized anesthesia, so 
easily induced by hypnotic suggestion and which 
has been made the subject of much study, may be 
explained on the same principle, although the affec- 
tive elements are not so obtrusive. The conflict is 
between the personal volition of the subject to see 
the marked playing-card, if that is the test object 
used in the experiment, and the suggested idea not 
to see it. The latter wins if the experiment is suc- 
cessful and inhibits the perception of the card 
i. e., dissociates it from the focus of awareness. 
(The emotional tones involved are obscure; possi- 
bly they are curiosity on the one hand vs. self-sub- 
jection on the other.) 

The unconscious resistance to suggestion is prob- 
ably of the same nature. Every one knows that it 
is difficult to hypnotize a person who resists the 
suggestion. This resistance may come from a 
counter auto-suggestion which may be entirely in- 
voluntary, perhaps a conviction on the part of the 
subject that she cannot be hypnotized, or an un- 
willingness to be i. e., desire not to be hypnotized 
or fear. The same is true of waking a person from 
hypnosis. In other words, an antagonistic pre- 
paredness of the mind blocks involuntarily the sug- 
gestion. A very pretty illustration is the follow- 
ing: H. 0. discovered that she could easily and 
rapidly hypnotize herself by simply passing her 


own fingers over her eyelids, but she could not wake 
herself out of hypnosis. She then discovered that, 
if she first gave herself the suggestion that she 
would wake when she desired, she could quickly do 
so. Likewise, if she suggested to herself that she 
could not hypnotize herself the customary proce- 
dure was without effect. Though this observation 
is a common phenomenon the rapidity and ease with 
which the phenomenon was demonstrated were as 
striking as it was amusing to watch her struggle 
to awake when the preparatory anticipatory auto- 
suggestion had not been given. 

In 0. N. more complicated phenomena induced by 
conflicts with subconscious complexes have been 
equally precise and striking. In this subject I find, 
as the result of repeated observations, that, in order 
that a suggestion, that is antagonistic to a preexist- 
ing attitude of mind possessing a strong feeling 
tone, shall not be resisted in hypnosis, it must be 
first formally accepted by the personality before 
hypnosis is induced. If this viewpoint is not pre- 
formed, after hypnosis is induced the blocking atti- 
tude cannot be altered. Practically this means that 
the subject shall bring into consciousness and dis- 
close ideas with which the intended suggestion will 
conflict and shall modify them voluntarily. This 
she does by first candidly accepting a new point of 
view, and then, secondly, by a technical procedure 
of her own, namely, by preparing her mind not to 
resist in hypnosis. This procedure, briefly stated 
and simplified, is as follows: she first says to her- 


self, "I will 'take out' that [resisting] idea." Then 
she arranges in her thoughts the ideas of accept- 
ance which she will substitute. Then she puts her- 
self into a state of abstraction (hypnosis) and sug- 
gests to herself that the resisting idea is taken out 
and that my intended suggestion shall be her view- 
point. Even then, sometimes, when the resisting 
idea is one harking back to a long past period of 
life and belonging to a pathologically organized 
"mood," known as the "b mood" or state, the 
acceptance of the suggestion may be ineffectual. 
Under these circumstances and when the hypnotic 
dissociation is carried too far, so that the hypnotic 
state is reduced to the "b mood," the previously 
auto-suggested acceptance of the idea by the pa- 
tient is thereby ostracized from the hypnotic field 
and is unable to play its part and have effect. So 
much by way of explanation. Now when the precau- 
tion has not been taken to see that any resisting 
idea has been "taken out" and when the intended 
suggestion has not been accepted, one of the fol- 
lowing phenomena is observed: (1) the hypnotic 
personality when the suggestion is given becomes 
"automatically" and unconsciously restless, en- 
deavors, without knowing why, to avoid listening, 
and to push me away, shifting her attitude and 
struggling to withdraw herself from contact or 
proximity all the time the face expressing hos- 
tility and disapproval in its features; or (2) com- 
plete obnubilation of consciousness supervenes so 
that the suggestions are not heard; or (3) the sub- 


ject suddenly wakes up. The last frequently hap- 
pens as often as the suggestion is repeated; and 
yet in hypnosis (and also, of course, when awake), 
the subject is unaware of what causes the resist- 
ance and the resulting phenomena. But if now the 
subject is warned of what has occurred and accepts 
the suggestion by the procedure mentioned (unless 
the "b mood" I have mentioned recurs), the resist- 
ance and other phenomena at once cease and the 
suggestion takes effect. Thus in this case the con- 
flicting ideas can always be precisely determined 
and the conditions of the experiment arranged at 
will and the results controlled. It is obvious that 
all three phenomena are different modes by which 
the subconscious idea resists the suggested idea and 
accomplishes its aim. 

3. In entire accordance with the experimental re- 
sults are certain pathological disturbances which 
from time to time interrupt the course of everyday 
life of this subject, 0. N. These disturbances con- 
sist of one or more of the following: a dissociative 
state in which the pathological "b mood" is domi- 
nant ; a lethargic state ; twilight state ; complete re- 
pression of certain normal sentiments and in- 
stincts; complete alteration of previously estab- 
lished points of view; morbid self-reproach; nerv- 
ousness, restlessness, agitation; anger at opposi- 
tion; indecision of thought, etc. Now, whenever 
such phenomena recur, with practical certainty, 
they can always be traced by the use of technical 


methods to a conflict with a turbulent sentiment (in 
which strong emotional tones are incorporated) 
previously lying dormant in the unconscious. 
Sometimes the turbulent sentiment can be definitely 
traced to childhood's experiences. Very often it 
has been intentionally formed and put into her mind 
by the subject herself for the very purpose of in- 
ducing the repression of other sentiments, to which 
for one reason or another for the time being she 
objects, and of changing her habitual point of view. 
Her method of artificially accomplishing this result 
is exceedingly instructive. It is similar to the au- 
to-suggestive process I have described in connec- 
tion with the hypnotic experiments. Having first 
prearranged her psychological plan, she proceeds 
to put herself into abstraction and to "take out", 
as she calls it, her previous sentiment (or instinct) 
and substitute an antagonistic sentiment. When 
she comes to herself out of abstraction, the previ- 
ously objected to sentiment has completely van- 
ished. If it is one concerning a person or mode of 
life, she becomes completely indifferent to that 
person or mode of life as if previously no sentiment 
had existed. If an intimate friend, he becomes only 
an acquaintance toward whom she has entirely new 
feelings corresponding to the new sentiment; if a 
physician, nothing that he says has influence with 
her, her new feeling, we will say, being that of 
resentment; if a mode of life, she has lost all inter- 
est in that mode and is governed by an interest in 
a new mode. Even physiological bodily instincts 


have been in this way suppressed. She has in- 
dulged this psychological habit for years. Again 
and again when she has exhibited these, and still 
other, phenomena, I have been able to discover their 
origin in this auto-suggestive procedure. 

Some of the other phenomena I have just men- 
tioned are more likely to be traced to autochthonous 
conflicts between everyday ideas dissatisfactions 
with actual conditions of life, and wishes for other 
conditions, unwillingness to forego the fulfilment 
of certain wishes and accept the necessary condi- 
tions as they exist, etc. The natural consequence 
is restlessness, agitation, anger, indecision, etc. 
The dissociation of personality, with the outcrop- 
ping of the "b mood," follows a conflict due to 
the excitation of certain childhood complexes, con- 
served in the unconscious and embracing sentiments 
in which are incorporated the instinct of self-sub- 
jection or abasement. This "b mood" is a study in 
itself. The self-reproaches are, I believe, also 
traceable to this instinct. 

Conflicts may even occur between two processes, 
both of which are subconscious and therefore out- 
side of the awareness of the subject. Thus, in B. 
C. A. I have frequently observed the following: 
while the right hand has been engaged in automatic 
writing, the left hand, motivated by a subconscious 
sentiment antagonistic to the subconscious ideas 
performing the writing, has seized the pencil, 
broken it, or thrown it across the room. The two 


conflicting systems of thought, each with its own 
sentiments and wishes, have been made to disclose 
themselves and exhibit their antitheses and antipa- 

The principle of emotional conflict and the phe- 
nomena we have outlined enable us to understand 
the mechanism of prolonged reaction time and 
blocking of thought observed in the so-called "word 
association tests." These tests involve too large a 
subject for us to enter upon them here. Let it suf- 
fice to say that when a test word strikes an emo- 
tional complex the response of the subject by an 
associated word may be delayed or completely 
blocked. The emotional impulse which inhibits the 
response may come from an awakened conscious 
or subconscious memory. 

The psychogalvanic reaction as physical evidence of actual 
subconscious emotional discharge. This reaction may be 
also used to demonstrate that subconscious processes 
may actually give forth emotional impulses without 
the ideas of those processes entering the personal 

1. I may be permitted to cite here some experi- 
ments,* which I made with Dr. Frederick Peterson, 
as they leave the minimum of latitude for interpre- 
tation and come as close as possible to the demon- 
stration of emotional discharges from processes en- 
tirely outside of awareness. Such a demonstration 

* Journal Abn. Psycliol., June-Juty, 1908. 


is important for the theory of subconscious conflicts. 

The experiments were undertaken in a case of 
multiple personality (B. C. A.) with a view to ob- 
taining the galvanic phenomenon from coconscious 
states. This case offered an exceptional oppor- 
tunity to determine whether the galvanic reaction 
could be obtained in one personality from the dis- 
sociated complexes deposited by the experiences of 
the second alternating personality for which there 
was complete amnesia on the part of the first. 
These dissociated experiences, of course, had never 
entered the awareness of the personality tested, who, 
therefore, necessarily could not possibly recall them 
to memory. With the information furnished by the 
second personality, it was easy to arrange test 
words associated with the emotional ideas of the 
experiences belonging to this personality and un- 
known to the one tested. 

Similarly it was possible to test whether galvanic 
reaction could be obtained from complexes from 
subconscious complexes the residua of forgotten 
dreams, as in this case the dreams were not remem- 
bered on waking. An account of the dreams could 
be obtained in hypnosis. The dreams were there- 
fore simply dissociated. 

Again we could test the possibility of obtaining re- 
actions from subconscious perceptions and thoughts 
which had never arisen into awareness. The re- 
quired information concerning these perceptions and 
thoughts could be obtained in this case in hypnosis. 

Now we found that test words which expressed 


the emotional ideas belonging to a forgotten dream 
gave, in spite of the amnesia, very marked rises in 
the galvanic curve. The same was true of the test 
words referring to dissociated experiences belong- 
ing to the alternating personality for which the 
tested personality had amnesia, and of the subcon- 
scious perceptions. For instance (as an example 
of the latter), the word lorgnette, referring to a 
subconscious perception of a stranger unnoticed by 
the conscious personality, gave a very lively reac- 

Further, pin pricks, which could not be con- 
sciously perceived owing to the anesthesia of the 
skin, gave strong reactions. 

Now here in the first two sets of observations 
were emotional effects apparently obtained from 
what were very precise complexes which were def- 
initely underlying, in that they never had been 
experienced by the personality tested and there- 
fore could not come from memories, or from associa- 
tions of which this personality was aware. They 
could only come from the residua of a personality 
which had experienced them and which was now 
"underlying." That these experiences had been 
conserved is shown by the recovery of them in a 
hypnotic state, and by their being remembered by 
the secondary personality. Even the pin pricks, 
which were not felt on account of the anesthesia, 
gave reactions. It could be logically inferred, there- 
fore, that the galvanic reaction was due to the ac- 
tivity of subconscious complexes, using the term in 


the narrow and restricted sense of conserved resi- 
dua without conscious equivalents. But the condi- 
tions were more complicated than I have described. 
There was in this case a veritable coconscious per- 
sonality, a split-off, well-organized system of con- 
scious states synthesized into a personal conscious- 
ness two foci of self-consciousness. Now the 
coconscious personality with its large system of 
thoughts had full memory of all these amnesic ex- 
periences; it remembered the dreams and the ex- 
periences of the second personality, and perceived 
the pin pricks. Hence we concluded ihat the gal- 
vanic phenomena were obtained from the memory 
and perceptions of this coconscious personality. 

This demonstration of an actual physical dis- 
charge is proof positive that an emotional process 
can function subconsciously. This being so, it only 
needs this discharge to come into conflict with some 
other process, conscious or subconscious, for one or 
other phenomenon of conflict to be manifested. 

2. This psycho-galvanic phenomenon may be corre- 
lated with those phenomena which we have already 
studied (p. 381) wherein the emotional element 
of the process alone rises into consciousness. The 
former phenomenon is therefore the manifestation 
of the efferent and the latter of the central part of 
the activated emotional disposition. The former 
supports the interpretation of various clinical motor 
phenomena as being the efferent manifestations of 
purely subconscious emotional processes. I refer 


to hysterical tics, spasms, contractures, etc. The 
latter phenomenon we have had frequent occasion 
to refer to. You will remember, for instance, that 
in the case of Miss B. on numerous occasions it was 
observed that emotion, particularly of fear, swept 
over the conscious personality without apparent 
cause. This emotion could be traced to specific dis- 
sociated and coconscious ideas. Likewise in B. C. A., 
states of anxiety or depression could be related to 
specific coconscious ideas which, having been 
shunted out of the field of consciousness, continued 
their activity in a coconscious state. Janet, as might 
be expected of so accurate an observer, long ago de- 
scribed the same phenomenon the invasion of the 
personal consciousness by the emotion belonging to 
a coconscious idea. "Isabella," he writes, " pre- 
sents constantly conditions which have the same 
character ; we shall cite but one other in the interest 
of the study of dementia. For a week or so she has 
been gloomy and sad; she hides and will not speak 
to anyone. We have trouble in getting a few words 
from her, and these she says very low, casting her 
eyes down: 'I am not worthy to speak with other 
people. ... I am very much ashamed, I have a 
crushing load on my mind like a terrible gnawing re- 
morse . . . ' 'A remorse about what?' 'Ah! 
that's just it. I am trying to find it out day and 
night. What is it that I could have done last week? 
for before I was not thus. Tell me candidly, did I do 
something very bad last week?' This time, as will 
be seen, the question is no longer about an act, but 


about a feeling, a general emotional state which she 
interprets as remorse; she is equally incapable of 
understanding and expressing the fixed idea which 
determines this feeling. If you divert the subject's 
attention, you can obtain the automatic writing, and 
you will see that the hand of the patient constantly 
writes the same name, that of Isabella's sister who 
died a short time ago. During the attacks and the 
somnambulic sleep we establish a very complicated 
dream in which this poor young girl thinks she mur- 
dered her sister. That is quite a common delirium, 
you will say; perhaps so, but for a hysteric it pre- 
sents itself in a rather curious manner. She suf- 
fers only from its rebound, experiences only the 
emotional side of it; of the delirium itself she is 
wholly ignorant; the latter remains subcon- 
scious." . . . 

"It will be seen by this last example that, in some 
cases, a small portion of the fixed idea may be con- 
scious. Isabella feels that she is troubled by some 
remorse, she knows not what. It thus frequently 
happens that hystericals, during their normal wak- 
ing time, complain of a certain mental attitude, so 
much so that they partly look as if obsessed. Ce- 
lestine experiences thus feelings of anger which she 
cannot explain." : 

As might be expected intense conflicts may have 
wide-reaching consequences and lead to the devel- 
opment of pathological conditions. Indeed, in the 
latter we find the most clear-cut exemplars of re- 

* The Mental State of Hystericals, pp. 289-290. 


pression (dissociation) and other phenomena pro- 
duced by conflict. I shall point out in later lec- 
tures * how in a specific case intense religious sen- 
timents completely repressed their antagonistic in- 
stincts and eventuated in dissociation of (multiple) 
personality (Miss B.) Likewise with B. C. A., as I 
interpret the phenomena, the dissociation of per- 
sonality resulted from a conflict between wishes 
that could not be fulfilled and sentiments of duty, 
respect, etc. We shall see later the significance of 
this principle for the understanding of other patho- 
logical states. 

* Not included in this volume. 



The awakening of intense emotional impulses we 
have seen tends to intensify certain activities and 
to inhibit other conflicting ones. Further when that 
which is inhibited is a sentiment possessing an 
intense emotion the sentiment tends to become dis- 
sociated * from the personal consciousness and free 

* Inhibition and dissociation, although often loosely used as in- 
terchangeable terms, are not strictly synonymous, in that, theoreti- 
cally at least, they are not coextensive. That which is inhibited may 
be absolutely, even if temporarily, suppressed as a functioning proc- 
ess, as in physiological inhibition (e. g., of reflexes, motor acts, 
etc.) ; or it may be only inhibited from taking part in the mechan- 
isms of the personal consciousness, and thereby dissociated from that 
psychophysiological system. In the latter case the inhibited process 
is not absolutely suppressed, but may be capable under favoring con- 
ditions of independent functioning outside of that system. This is 
dissociation in its more precise sense. Inhibition may be said to have 
induced dissociation, and then the two may be regarded as only dif- 
ferent aspects of one and the same thing. In the former case (abso- 
lute suppression) the inhibited process cannot function at all, as in 
certain types of amnesic aphasia when the memory for language is 
functionally suppressed. Inhibition therefore may or may not be 
equivalent to dissociation. Practically as observed in psychological 
phenomena it is often difficult to distinguish between them, and it is 
convenient to consider them together. 



to become by the force of its own emotional dispo- 
sitions a subconscious process. As a consequence 
of these tendencies there may result a number of 
psycho-physiological conditions of personality with 
some of which we should become familiar. They 
are observable, as would be expected, in every-day 
life, and when highly accentuated become patho- 
logical phenomena. Let us now consider some of 
them in detail. 

Contraction of the field of consciousness and of personality. 
In every-day life intense emotion excludes from 
the field of awareness thoughts that are unrelated, 
antagonistic to and incompatible with the ideas ex- 
citing the emotion, and perceptions of the environ- 
ment that ordinarily would enter awareness. The 
field of consciousness is thereby contracted and lim- 
ited to thoughts excited by or associated with the 
emotion. Thus, for example, in the heat of anger the 
mind is dominated by the particular object or 
thought which gave rise to the anger, or by anger ex- 
citing associated ideas. Conflicting memories and 
correlated knowledge that would modify the point of 
view and judgment and mollify (inhibit) the anger 
are suppressed and cannot enter the focus of atten- 
tion. Further, a person in such a state may not 
perceive many ocular, auditory, tactile, and other 
impressions coming from the environment; he 
may not see the people about him, hear what 
is said, or feel what is done to him, or only in 
an imperfect way. All these sensations are either 


actually inhibited or prevented from entering 
awareness (dissociated) by the conflicting conative 
force of the emotion. In other words there is a 
dissociation (or inhibition) of consciousness and 
consequent contraction of its field to certain emo- 
tional ideas. 

To take a concrete example, you are playing a 
game of cards and with zest throw yourself into the 
game. Something happens to arouse your anger. 
At once there is a conflict: The impulsive force of 
your pugnacity instinct meets with the impulsive 
force of your play instinct and its pleasure feelings. 
If the former is the stronger, the latter with the 
ideas to which it is linked are inhibited, repressed, 
driven out of consciousness. The pleasure of play 
ceases and its impulses no longer determine your 
thoughts. Further, you forget the cards that have 
been played though you knew them well a moment 
before, you may forget your manners, become ob- 
livious to social etiquette and the environment. You 
can no longer reason on the play of the cards; 
you forget your card knowledge. All these proc- 
esses are inhibited, and consequently the field 
of consciousness and personality becomes con- 

On the other hand, the emotion of anger dominat- 
ing the mind, ideas associated with or which tend 
to carry your pugnacity instinct to fruition, arise 
and direct and determine your conduct. Habit re- 
actions are likely to come automatically into play, 
and you break out into angry denunciatory speech, 


if that is your habit. I leave you to fill out the de- 
tails of the picture for yourselves. 

And yet, again through training in self-control, a 
self-regarding sentiment conflicting with the anger 
impulse may be awakened, and the latter in turn 
be dominated, repressed, inhibited. 

In the case of an intense fear it is common ob- 
servation that this contraction may reach a high de- 
gree. In the excitement of a railroad accident the 
frightened passenger does not feel the bruising and 
pain which he otherwise would suffer, nor hear the 
shrieks of his fellow passengers nor perceive but a 
small part of what is occurring about him, but 
driven only by the intensely motivating idea of es- 
cape from danger he struggles for safety. His field 
of consciousness is limited to the few ideas of dan- 
ger, escape, and the means of safety. All else is 
dissociated by the conative force of the emotion and 
cannot enter the focus of attention. He could not 
philosophize on the accident if he would. In ordi- 
nary concentration of attention or absent-minded- 
ness the same phenomenon of contraction of the field 
of consciousness occurs occasioned by interest; but 
with cessation of interest the field of awareness 
quickly widens. So in contraction of this field from 
emotion the normal is restored so soon as the emo- 
tion ceases. 

When this same general contraction of the field 
of consciousness, effected by the repressing force of 
emotion, reaches a certain acme we have a patho- 


logical condition the hysterical state. The field of 
consciousness is now occupied by the single disso- 
ciating idea or complex of ideas with its emotion 
that did the repressing a condition of mono-ideism. 
All other conscious processes are inhibited or disso- 
ciated. When the complex is an intensely emotional 
one, its nervous energy, now unbridled, is free to 
discharge itself in many directions, perhaps pro- 
ducing convulsive phenomena of one kind or 

To attribute these effects of emotion to repression 
from conflict is only to express the facts in different 
terms. But it would be often an over-emphasis to 
describe what takes place as a specific conflict be- 
tween particular sentiments. It is often rather the 
discharge of a blind impulsive force in every direc- 
tion which, like a blast of dynamite, suppresses or 
dissociates every other process which might come 
into consciousness and displace it. 

Systematized dissociation. Quite commonly the 
dissociated field, by whatever force isolated, instead 
of being general may be systematized. By this is 
meant that only certain perceptions, or groups or 
categories of ideas that have been organized into a 
system, or have associative relations, are pre- 
vented from entering the personal synthesis. In 
other respects the conscious processes may be 
normal. The simplest type is probably sys- 
tematized anesthesia, exemplified in every-day life 
in anyone who fails to perceive his eye-glasses, 


or any other object he is in search of that is 
lying under his nose on the table before him ; and 
by the post-hypnotic phenomenon exhibited by the 
subject who fails to perceive a marked playing 
card or to hear or see a given person, though 
he perceives all the other cards in the pack and 
everyone else in the room; and by the hysteric 
who likewise fails to perceive certain system- 
atized sensations, such as the printing on a 
page which, itself, therefore appears blank. That 
which is dissociated in these examples is a compa- 
ratively very simple complex, but it may involve 
larger and larger groups of remembrances, percep- 
tions, sentiments (with their emotions and feel- 
ings), settings, attitudes, instincts, and other innate 
dispositions, etc., organized into a system about the 
sentiment of self. Such groups and systems may, 
as we saw when studying the organization of com- 
plexes (Lecture IX), be dissociated in that they 
cease to take part in the functioning of the person- 
ality. The personality becomes thereby contracted. 

1. The principle involved is this : When a specific 
idea or psycho-physiological function (memory, sen- 
sation, perception, instinct) is by any force dis- 
sociated, the exiled idea or function tends to carry 
with itself into seclusion other ideas and functions 
with which it is systematized. The dissociation is 
apt to involve much more than the particular psy- 
chological element in question in that it "robs" the 
personal consciousness of much else. I have already 


cited in a previous lecture (p. 318) examples of this 
principle. I need merely remind you of the obser- 
vation with Miss B., where the systematized disso- 
ciation of auditory images pertaining to the experi- 
menter carried with it the associated secondary 
visual images of him necessary for tactile percep- 
tion of his hand. Similarly, in B. C. A., the general 
dissociation of tactile images carried with it the 
secondary visual images necessary for the visuali- 
zation of her body. A large number of examples 
drawn from all kinds of dissociative phenomena 
might be given. I will content myself with men- 
tioning two or three more: In automatic writing 
the dissociated muscular control of the hands usu- 
ally robs the personal consciousness, so far as the 
hand is concerned, of all sensory perception, and 
in automatic speech the dissociation of the faculty 
of speech often robs the personal consciousness of 
the auditory perception of the subject's own voice. 
In hysterics, the specific dissociation of one class of 
perceptions carries away others systematized with 
them. In systematized anesthesia it is often easy 
to recognize this fact. A good example of this is 
that recorded in the case of Miss B., who, believing 
she had lost her finger rings, not only could not 
be made to see or feel them, but also not even the 
ribbon on which they were hung round her neck, or 
to hear them click together, or to feel the tug of the 
ribbon when I pulled it* The perceptions of these 
associated sensations were therefore also with- 

* The Dissociation, p. 189. 


drawn. The same principle can be demonstrated by 
suggestion in suitable subjects. Thus, for example, 
I suggest to one of these subjects in hypnosis that 
she will forget an episode associated with a certain 
person named "August." After waking she has 
amnesia not only for the episode but for the name 
of the person and for the word in its other mean- 
ings, e. g., the name of a calendar month. She can- 
not recall that a month intervenes between July 
and September. 

In these examples the source of the dissociating 
force is not in every case obvious. But this need 
not concern us now. What I want to point out is 
that when the dissociation is the consequence of an 
emotional discharge the same principle frequently 
comes into play, the same phenomenon of systema- 
tization is of common occurrence. It may be recog- 
nized with considerable exactness when a conflict 
between sentiments has been artificially created. 
Thus the phenomenon, described in the last lecture 
(p. 476), of inhibition of sentiments by a self-sug- 
gested antagonistic sentiment, may equally well be 
cited in evidence of this principle. Similarly, 0. N. 
suggested to herself a sentiment antagonistic to a 
specific sentiment which she previously entertained 
regarding a particular person. Not only was the 
latter sentiment dissociated but a number of other 
allied sentiments systematized around the same per- 
son were also incidentally and unintentionally re- 
pressed and withdrawn from consciousness, so much 


so that her whole point of view was altered.* (It 
was easy in hypnosis by the procedures already 
stated to synthesize the sentiments at will so as to 
drive out, with suggested antagonistic sentiments, 
the undesired ones. The change of viewpoint and 
feeling after waking from hypnosis was often quite 

2. By this mechanism we can explain the dissocia- 
tion of large systems of sentiments leaving a con- 
tracted personality a mere extract of its former 
self dissociated and distinguished from what it 
was by different sentiments, instincts and other in- 
nate dispositions.! The facts seem to show that the 
awakening of the emotional impulses of certain sen- 
timents inhibits, not only those particular antago- 
nistic sentiments with which the former are incom- 
patible, but large systems of sentiments, and many 
instincts and other innate dispositions with which 
the inhibited sentiments are systematized. The 
contracted self may or may not be able to recall 
to memory the fact of having previously experienced 
the dissociated sentiments. But whether so or not 

* One sees the same phenomenon in every-day life. Let a person 
acquire under a sense of injury a dislike of one who previously was 
a friend, and every sentiment involving friendship, admiration, es- 
teem, gratitude, loyalty, etc., is repressed with a complete change of 
attitude. Politics furnishes many examples. 

f Exemplified in Miss B. by Sally, in O. N. by the b mood, and 
in B. C. A. by phase B, and also in the earlier stages of the case by 
phase A. 


the latter no longer functionally participate in the 

This mechanism, to be sure, is an interpretation 
but the facts are easily demonstrated. Minor types 
of such dissociations result in what we have de- 
scribed as " moods." More extreme types are 
pathological and characterized as phases of person- 

3. The contrast of the sentiments in such moods 
and phases with the habitual sentiments having 
identically the same objects is striking. In other 
words the object is organized with an entirely dif- 
ferent group of emotions (instincts). The subject's 
sentiment of husband or wife or father or son no 
longer contains the emotions of love and reverence, 
etc. ; but, perhaps, there are organized within it the 
emotions of anger, hatred, contempt, etc. A self- 
regarding sentiment of self -subjection with shame, 
"feelings" of inadequacy and depression may be 
substituted for self-assertion, pride, self-respect, 
etc. These clinical facts are matters of observation. 

B n suffers from constantly recurring and very 

intense attacks of asthma which have certain char- 
acteristics which stamp it as an hysterical tic. 
'In the attacks it is noticeable that her personality 
and disposition normally amiable, gentle, and 
affectionate undergo a change. The parental in- 
stinct and sentiments of affection for her family, 
of whom she is very fond, of modesty, of pride, 
of consideration for others, etc., disappear and are 


replaced by others of an opposite character. Fear, 
anger, and resentment are easily aroused, etc. B. 
C. A. in phase B of personality knew nothing of 
remorse, self-reproach, or despair which character- 
ized the normal phase, and experienced only emo- 
tions and feelings of pleasure and happiness.* 

Janet, with his customary accuracy in observing 
facts, has noted these changes, although I think in 
his attempt at interpretation he has not quite 
recognized the mechanism by which they are 
brought about. "With Eenee," this author re- 
marks, when noting the facts, "we have gradually 
seen disappearing the taste for finery ; her coquetry 
vanity, even disappeared. With others, the love 
of property is gone; they lose all that belongs to 
them and do not care. Bertha formerly had great 
timidity; she now wonders at the loss of it. She 
goes and comes at night; she looks at dead bones of 
which she was afraid in past years, and asks: 
'Why does all this make no impression on me now?' 
Marie, especially, is very curious as to that. She 
takes no longer any interest in things or people. 
Overwhelmed with misfortunes, consequences of her 
malady, and, after having been in comfortable cir- 
cumstances, reduced to extreme poverty, she does 
not perceive that her situation is serious. She loses 
money, when she has only a few pennies left; she 
mislays her clothing, can scarcely keep on the dress 

* My Life as a Dissociated Personality, Jl. Ab. Psychol., Decem- 
ber-January, 1908-9. 


she is wearing and does not seem to trouble herself 
about it in the least. Yet we observe that she is still 
intelligent and might provide against her situation. 
She does so very little, and only wonders at her 
indifference. 'Formerly I took care of my things; 
now I do not.' There are some still more charac- 
teristic facts to be observed in this patient. For- 
merly she loved her husband and was even quite 
jealous about him. She was devoted to her two 
children. Since her illness she has gradually aban- 
doned her children, who have been reared by her 
sisters, and she finally left her husband. For the 
last three years, instead of her former happy life, 
she leads about Paris the most miserable existence. 
Not once did she inquire about her husband or her 
children. She heard indirectly of the former's 
death. 'Strange!' she said, 'it does not affect me in 
the least; yet, I assure you, it does not make me 
happy, either ... I simply don't care.' 'But if we 
were to tell you that your little Louis [it was her 
favorite child] is dead, too ? ' ' How do you suppose 
it can affect me! I have forgotten him!' " * 

4. Janet, when interpreting such phenomena, at- 
tributes them to "psychological feebleness" in con- 
sequence of which the personality cannot synthesize 
more than a certain number of emotions and ideas 
to form the personal self-consciousness. It cer- 
tainly cannot perform the synthesis involved in re- 
taining certain formerly possessed sentiments, etc., 

* The Mental State of Hystericals, p. 205. 


but it is not because of feebleness. Many hysterics 
can synthesize quite as many psychological ele- 
ments as a normal person, but not sentiments and 
emotions of a certain character, i. e., those which 
pertain to certain experiences, to certain systems 
of remembrances. M. Janet has quite correctly 
pointed out that, in spite of the apathy and lack of 
emotionality of hysterics in certain directions, 
which, I would insist, in the last analysis means 
the absence of particular sentiments and instincts 
in other directions these patients are ' ' extremely ex- 
citable and susceptible of very exaggerated emo- 
tions," which in turn means the retention of par- 
ticular sentiments and instincts. These last domi- 
nate the personality. Here is the key to the enigma. 
From this point of view, the effect of the impulsive 
force of the dominating emotions has been misinter- 
preted by M. Janet. These emotions are the causal 
factors in determining the apathy, i. e., absence of 
particular sentiments and instincts, and explain 
why they cannot be brought within the personal 
synthesis. If we bear in mind that emotion means 
discharge of force, an adequate explanation of such 
phenomena in a great many instances, at least, is 
to be found in the principle of conflict and dissocia- 
tion. The conflict is between the impulsive forces 
of the emotions pertaining either to antagonistic 
instincts or to sentiments organized within differ- 
ent systems. With the excitation of emotion, in- 
stincts and sentiments which have opposing cona- 
tive tendencies are inhibited, repressed, or disso- 


elated, and with them the systems with which they 
are organized. The emotion does not so much 
cause " psychological feebleness" in consequence 
of which the personality cannot synthesize senti- 
ments, as it inhibits and dissociates antagonistic 
sentiments, etc., which consequently cannot be syn- 
thesized. The result you may call " feebleness" if 
you like. 

Hence it is that hysterics present the seeming 
paradox of having, as M. Janet observed, ''in 
reality fewer emotions than is generally thought 
and [in] that their principal character is here, as 
it is always, a diminution of psychological phenom- 
ena. These patients are in general very indifferent, 
at least to all that is not directly connected with a 
small number of fixed ideas." According to the 
view which we are maintaining, the ' 'fewer emo- 
tions" are due to the dissociation of many senti- 
ments and instincts by the dominating emotional 

5. Let us not forget that this explanation is a mat- 
ter of interpretation, but the interpretation comports 
with what is common observation of what happens 
when a new emotion which is incompatible with an 
existing emotion (fear anger) is excited. In the 
case of Miss B., the alternation of the personality 
coincident with the excitation of an emotion oc- 
curred with such frequency, not to say with regu- 
larity, that there seemed to be no room to doubt 


the causal factor and the mechanism.* Sometimes 
the dissociation resulted in the formation of new 
phases of personality in which Miss B. reverted to 
a past epoch of time in which she lived once more, 
the experiences of all later epochs being dissociated ; 
sometimes in phases with a very contracted field of 
consciousness without orientation in time or place 
and with little knowledge of self or environment; 
sometimes and in these instances the dissociation 
of organized systems could most clearly be recog- 
nized in the substitution of one of the already 
established phases (BI, BIV, or Bill) for another. 
It is not always easy without intensive study, to 
determine the exact sentiment or instinct which is 
responsible for the dissociation, although the actual 
occurrence of the emotional state just preceding the 
development of the phenomenon is obtrusively obvi- 
ous. "At various times as a result of emotionally 
disintegrating circumstances" at least eight differ- 
ent phases were observed in addition to the three 
regularly recurrent phases. f 

In B. C. A. the gradual organization through the 
circumstances of life of a group of "rebellious" 
ideas, in which the dominating sentiments and in- 
stincts were intensely antagonistic to those previ- 
ously peculiar to the subject, could be clearly 
determined. So antagonistic was this group that 
it was known as the rebellious complex but termed 

* The Dissociation, cf . Index : ' ' Emotion, the Disintegrating Ef- 
fect of," and Chapters XXVIII and XXIX. 
f The Dissociation, p. 462. 


B complex for convenience. It became by succes- 
sive accretions a large system and phase of per- 
sonality. The details are too extensive to enter 
into at this time ; suffice it to say that as the result 
of what is called an ''emotional shock" the B sys- 
tem came into being. This interpreted means that 
the shock was really the excitation of the rebellious 
sentiments and other emotions belonging to the B 
system; there was a conflict; the habitual senti- 
ments and the system to which they belonged were 
inhibited and replaced by the former (B). Later 
the displaced sentiments and their corresponding A 
system were awakened, the emotions giving rise to 
another shock, a conflict, and the B system, in turn, 
was inhibited. And so it could be recognized that 
alternations of systems could be evoked by the 
alternate excitation of sentiments and instincts or 
complexes, if you prefer the term pertaining to 

6. This summary of the phenomena of conflict in- 
ducing dissociation of personality would be incom- 
plete if the dissociations effected by entirely sub- 
conscious processes were not mentioned. These 
can be very neatly studied with coconscious 
personalities, as such personalities can give very 
precise information of the mode by which the dis- 
placement of the primary personality is effected. 
In the cases of Miss B. and B. C. A. "Sally" and 
"B," respectively, have done this. It appears, ac- 
cording to this testimony, that coconscious "will- 


ing" or strong conation, even simply a wish to 
inhibit the principal consciousness, would effect that 
result. Thus, for instance, B testified: "When 
A is present I can 'come' voluntarily by willing, 
i. e., blot A out and then I 'come.' . . . By willing 
I mean I would say to A: '. . . . Go away': 'Get 
out of the way': 'Let me come: I will come,' and 
then A disappeared. She was gone and I was there. 
It was almost instantaneous. . . . Sometimes the 
wish to change would blot out A without actual 
willing. ' ' 

In the case of Miss B. similar testimony of the 
effect of coconscious willing and wishes was ob- 

When the coconscious wishes, sentiments, etc., are 
not synthesized into a large self-conscious system 
(i.e., coconscious personality) which can give direct 
testimony as to the subconscous conflicts, the for- 
mer and the process which they incite must be 
inferred from known antecedent factors and the 
observed phenomena of inhibition or dissociation. 
That general and systematized dissociation are 
phenomena which can be, and frequently are, in- 
duced by the conative force of purely subconscious 
processes, in view of the multiform data offered by 
hysterics can be open to no manner of doubt. The 
process may be also formulated in terms of conflict. 

Laws governing the lines of cleavage of personality In 
systematized dissociation there is a cleavage be- 
tween certain organized systems of experiences and 


functions and the remainder of the personality. 
The contracted personality is consequently shorn of 
much. But we understand only very incompletely 
the laws which determine the direction of the line 
of cleavage and the consequent extent of the dis- 
sociated field. Unquestionably this follows the law 
of organization of complexes in a general way, but 
not wholly so. For instance, it is impossible by 
this law or by any known mechanism to explain the 
anesthesia which sometimes, apparently spontane- 
ously, appears in certain hypnotic states. A given 
subject, e. g., B. C. A., is simply hypnotized by sug- 
gestion and successively falls into two different 
states. In one state the subject is found to be 
completely anesthetic and in the other normally 
esthetic. The subject is one and the same and the 
dissociating suggestion, which is the same in each 
case, contains nothing specifically related to sensa- 
tion ; and yet the line of cleavage is within the field 
of sensation in the one case and without it in the 
other; i. e., that which is dissociated includes the 
sensory field in the one state and not in the other. 
Similarly when the disaggregation of personality is 
brought about by the force of a conflicting emotion, 
the resulting hysterical state or dissociated person- 
ality may be robbed of certain sensory or motor 
functions, although these functions are not as far 
as we can see logically related to the emotion or the 
ideas coupled with it. Thus a person receives an 
emotional shock and develops a one-sided anesthesia 
and paralysis a very common phenomenon. 


Louis Vive used to pass into one state in which he 
had left hemiplegia and into another in which he 
had right hemiplegia, another with paraplegia. 
Each state had its own systematized memories, but 
why each had its own and different motor and 
sensory dissociations cannot be explained. In Miss 
B. the dissociation which resulted in the formation 
of the secondary personality, Sally, withdrew, with- 
out apparent rhyme or reason, the whole general 
field of sensations so that Sally was completely 
anesthetic.* The sensory functions seemed to be 
wantonly ejected along with the repressed com- 
plexes of ideas. Per contra, by the same process 
which results in dissociation, lost functions are often 
paradoxically synthesized. Mrs. E. B. and Mrs. R., 
anesthetic when ' * awake, ' ' are found to be normally 
esthetic in hypnosis ; i. e., the sensory functions are 
spontaneously synthesized with the hypnotic per- 
sonality. In other words, in hypnosis the personal 
synthesis is in this respect more normal than in the 
"waking" state. 

Again, when amnesia results it may cover a past 
epoch retrograde amnesia without obvious rea- 
son for the chronological line of cleavage. In short 
the suppression by dissociation of a specific psy- 
chological element remembrance, perception, sen- 
timent, etc. not only tends to rob the personality 
of a whole psychological system in which it is 
organized but of other faculties, the relation of 

* We shall study in other lectures the forces and mechanisms 
which effected the dissociation in this case. 


which to the specifically dissociated element is ob- 
scure. It seems as if the dissociation sometimes fol- 
lowed physiological as well as psychological lines.* 
It is in accordance with this principle that instincts 
and sentiments which are not immediately con- 
cerned in the specific conflict nor antagonistic to the 
dissociating emotion are often suppressed. Thus 
it is that hysterics, as we have seen by examples, 
have lost so many emotions (instincts) and the sen- 
timents involving them, though they are so excitable 
to the emotions that are retained. In the case of 
B. C. A. the secondary personality B, the resultant 
(as I interpret the case) of the conflict between the 
play instinct and sentiments of duty, responsibility, 
etc., lost the parental instinct with the emotion of 
tender feeling (McDougall) and that of fear, with 
their corresponding sentiments. She was shock- 
ingly devoid of filial and maternal love and, indeed, 
of affection, in the true sense, for her friends. 
Likewise Sally (in the case of Miss B.), also the 
product of conflict between the impulses of the play 
instinct and those of the religious emotions, was 
entirely devoid of fear, of the sexual, and of certain 
other instincts not antagonistic to the dominating 
play instinct. She had lost also a great many, if not 
all, sentiments involving the tender feeling. As in 
the examples given of dissociation of motor, sen- 
sory, and other functions, the dissociative line of 

* See Morton Prince : Some of the Present Problems of Abnormal 
Psychology, St. Louis Congress of Arts and Sciences (1904), Vol. 5, 
p. 772; also, The Psychological Review, March-May, 1905, p. 139. 


cleavage had excluded more than was engaged in 
the conflict. Of course, there always must be some 
reason for the direction taken by any line of cleav- 
age, following the application of force, whether the 
fracture be of a psycho-physiological organism or 
of a piece of china ; but when the conditions are as 
complex as they are in the human organism their 
determination becomes a difficult problem. When 
we come to study multiple personality we shall see 
that the suppression of instincts plays an important 

Amnesia. It is a general rule that when a person 
passes from a condition of extreme dissociation to 
the normal state there is a tendency for amnesia to 
supervene for the previous dissociated state (mul- 
tiple personalities, epileptic and hysterical fugues, 
hypnotic and dream states, etc.). Likewise in every- 
day life it frequently happens, when the dissociation 
effected by emotion results in an extremely re- 
tracted field of consciousness, that, after this emo- 
tional state has subsided and the normal state has 
been restored, memory for the excited retracted 
state, including the actions performed, is abolished 
or impaired. Even criminal acts committed in 
highly emotional states (anger, "brain storms," 
etc.) may be forgotten afterwards. In other words, 
in the normal state there is in turn a dissociation 
of the residua of the excited state. The experiences 
of this latter state are not lost, however, but only 
dissociated in that they cannot be synthesized with 


the personal consciousness and thereby reproduced 
as memory. That they may be still conserved as 
neurographic residua is shown in those cases suit- 
able for experimental investigation where they can 
be reproduced by artificial devices (hypnotism, ab- 
straction, etc.). 

Thus B. C. A. could not recall a certain emotional 
experience although it made a tremendous impres- 
sion upon her, disrupted her personality, and in- 
duced her illness. In other respects her memory 
was normal. Janet has described this amnesia fol- 
lowing emotional shocks, notably in the classical 
case of Mme. D. 

1. On first thought it seems strange that a person 
cannot remember such an important experience as 
that, for example, of B. C. A., when for all else 
the memory is normal. That this experience had 
awakened conflicting ideas and intense, blazing emo- 
tions with great retraction of the field of conscious- 
ness of the moment is shown by the history. Later 
there was found to be a hiatus in the memory, the 
amnesia beginning and ending sharply at particular 
points, shortly before and shortly after this experi- 
ence. In other words, the extremely dissociated and 
retracted emotional field could not be synthesized 
with the personal consciousness or, one might say, 
with the sentiment of self. In hypnosis, however, 
this could be done and the memory recovered. 
Freud has proposed an ingenious theory involving 


a particular mechanism by which such amnesic 
effects are produced. According to this theory the 
dissociated experience cannot be recalled because 
it is so painful that it cannot be tolerated by con- 
sciousness; i. e., attempted emergence as memory 
meets with the resistance of conflicting subcon- 
scious thoughts, acting as a censor or guardian, 
and the experience is repressed and prevented from 
entering consciousness. (It would be, perhaps, 
within the scope of this theory to say that the im- 
pulsive force of the conflicting sentiments (involv- 
ing pride and self-respect and the instinct of anger) 
awakened at the moment of the experience con- 
tinued more or less subconsciously to repress the 
memory of the whole experience.) 

2. If expressed in the following form I think the 
theory would equally well explain such amnesias, 
be in conformity with certain known hypnotic phe- 
nomena and, perhaps, be more acceptable : An ex- 
perienced desire not to face, or think of, i. e., to 
recall to memory, a certain painful experience is 
conserved in the usual way. When an attempt is 
made to recall the episode this desire becomes an 
active subconscious process and inhibits the mem- 
ory process. The analogue of this we have in post- 
hypnotic amnesia induced by suggestion. In the 
hypnotic state the suggestion is given that the sub- 
ject after waking shall have forgotten a certain 
experience, a name, or an episode. After waking 


the conative force * of the suggested idea, function- 
ing entirely subconsciously (as there is complete 
forgetfulness for the hypnotic state), inhibits the 
memory of the test experience in that there is found 
to be amnesia for the latter. One may say there 
has been a subconscious conflict followed by in- 
hibition of one of the belligerents. That antecedent 
thoughts of the individual can likewise become acti- 
vated as subconscious processes and come into con- 
flict with other processes and inhibit them, thus pre- 
venting them from becoming conscious, we have 
already seen. The antagonism of the motives in 
the two processes is often obvious. Numerous ex- 
amples of inhibitions (induced by conflicts with sub- 
conscious ideas, emotions, and conations) of mental 
processes which could afterwards be recalled to 
memory in a secondary state of personality have 
been recorded in the case of Miss B.f Likewise in 
B. C. A. similar phenomena were testified to as due 
to subconscious conflicts.^ There would seem to be 
no question therefore of either the occurrence of 
subconscious conflicts or their efficiency in produc- 
ing amnesia. 

* Probably derived from the ' ' will to believe, ' ' the desire to 
please the experimenter, or other elements in the hypnotic setting. 
The conception of a "censor" or desire to protect the personal con- 
sciousness from something painful is an unnecessary complication. 

f The Dissociation. 

t Cf. My Life as a Dissociated Personality, Jl. JZm. Psychol., 
October-November, 1908. 


3. However all this may be, there is no need for 
us now to enter into the question of mechanisms. 
Certain it is, though, that we often forget what we 
want to forget, which means memories that are 
unpleasant; and certain types of pathological am- 
nesia answer to the Freudian mechanism or some 
modification of it. Certain amnesias undoubtedly 
follow deliberate wishes to put certain experiences 
out of mind, just as they follow hypnotic sugges- 
tions that they shall be forgotten. A very neat 
example is that of the observation previously 
given (Lecture III, p. 74) of the subject who, in a 
moment of despair and resentment against criti- 
cism, expressed a wish to forget her own marriage 
name, and lo! and behold! on waking the next day 
she found she could not recall it. But amnesias of 
this kind differ in an important respect from the 
classical amnesias of hysteria. In the latter variety 
the dissociation is so extensive that reproduction 
cannot be effected by any associated idea of the 
personal consciousness; for reproduction another 
state of consciousness (hypnosis, alteration of per- 
sonality, etc.) with which the forgotten experience 
is synthesized must be obtained or the subconscious 
must be tapped. In the former variety although 
the reproduction cannot be effected through an idea 
with which it stands in affectively painful associa- 
tion, it can be by some other indifferent idea or com- 
plex with which it is systematized. For instance, 
in the case of the phobia for the ringing of bells 
in a tower which we have studied, the original 


episode could not be recalled in association with the 
object of the phobia, notwithstanding that this ob- 
ject was an element in the episode, but it was 
readily recalled in association with contemporary 
events of the subject's life. In the case of C. D., 
who had experienced a painful episode of fainting 
the same amnesic relations obtained. 

4. On the other hand there are other forms of am- 
nesia which the Freudian mechanism is totally in- 
adequate to explain, or of which it offers only a par- 
tial explanation. I refer to the persisting amnesias 
of reproduction exemplified by much of the common 
forge tfulness of every-day life (often due to dis-in- 
terest) ; by the amnesias for whole systems of experi- 
ences in hypnotic states, in different phases of mul- 
tiple personality, fugues, and deliria; by certain 
retrograde, general, and continuous amnesias of 
hysteria, alcoholic amnesia, etc. In some of these the 
amnesia is a dissociation of systems undoubtedly 
effected by the force of emotional impulses dis- 
charged by antagonistic complexes. This is to view 
the amnesia from its psychological aspect. But it 
may also be viewed from its correlated physiological 

Let us note first that reproduction is a synthetic 
process which requires some sort of dynamic asso- 
ciation between the neurogram underlying an idea 
present in the personal consciousness and the con- 
served neurograms of a past experience. From this 
view we may in the future find the explanation of 


amnesia (resulting from the dissociative effect of 
emotion) in the configuration of the physical paths 
of residua traveled and engraved by an emotional 
experience. The emotional discharge may have pre- 
vented an associative path of residua being estab- 
lished with the dissociated experience.* 

5. Amnesia is too large a subject for us to go into 
its mechanisms at this time and we are not called 
upon to do so. It is enough to point out the different 
forms of amnesia which at times are the resultants 
of emotion. Inasmuch as experiences are organized 
in complexes and still further in large systems, 
which include settings (that give meaning to the 
particular experiences) and other associated senti- 
ments, instincts and other innate dispositions, the 
dissociation of a single experience may involve a 
large complex of experiences, or a whole system of 
such, .and result either in a simple amnesia alone 
or in an alteration of personality accompanied 
by amnesia. Such amnesias are generally clas- 
sified as localized, systematized, general, or con- 

* T. Brailsford Kobertson, in a very recent communication on the 
"Chemical Dynamics of the Central Nervous System" and "The 
Physiological conditions underlying heightened suggestibility, hyp- 
nosis, multiple personality, sleep, etc. ' ' (Folia Neuro-Biologica, Bd. 
VII, Nr. 4/5, 1913), has attempted to correlate these conditions and 
also amnesia (as one of their phenomena) with the isolation of paths 
' ' canalised ' ' by auto-catalysed chemical reactions. These processes 
he concludes, from previous studies, ' ' underlie and determine the 
activities of the central nervous system (and therefore the physical 
correlates of mental phenomena)." (See Lecture V, p. 124.) 


6. The first, as it seems to me, is also in prin- 
ciple systematized, the distinction being clini- 
cal rather than psychological. By localized is 
meant an amnesia extending over an epoch of time. 
Thus, in the instance already cited, Miss B. sud- 
denly found that she could not recall a single mo- 
ment of a particular day, although previously she 
had remembered well the incidents, owing to a dis- 
tressing experience the memory of which had tor- 
mented her during the whole day. The amnesia was 
localized in time. It was the result of a suggestion 
which I gave in hypnosis that the painful experi- 
ence only should be forgotten ; but unexpectedly the 
remembrances of the whole day disappeared. In 
other words, the dissociation of a particular remem- 
brance robbed the personal consciousness of all 
other remembrances with which it was systema- 
tized. That it was so systematized was made evi- 
dent by the fact that throughout the course of the 
day it had so dominated her mind that she was con- 
tinuously under its emotional influence. The am- 
nesia was therefore not only localized but systema- 
tized with the day's experiences. It is to be noted 
that the hypnotic suggestion necessarily exerted its 
dissociating force subconsciously after waking. 

Similarly in multiple personality, one alternating 
phase often has complete amnesia for the preceding 
epoch belonging to another phase. This amnesia 
may extend over a period of from a few minutes to 
years, according to the length of time that the sec- 
ond phase was in existence. It is therefore local- 


ized. But it is also systematized, not in the sense 
of relating to only a particular category of remem- 
brances, such as those of a particular object 
father, child, etc. but in the sense of bearing upon 
all the experiences organized within a large system 
of sentiments, instincts, settings, etc., characteris- 
tic of the second personality. With the dissociation 
of this system the remembrances of its experiences 
go, too. Undoubtedly the dissociating force is that 
of the awakened sentiments, etc., of the succeeding 
phase. These are always antagonistic to those of the 
dissociated phase, although those of the one are not 
necessarily painful to the other. They are simply 
incompatible with one another, and it may quite 
well be that their force is subconsciously dis- 
charged. Systematized amnesia, on the other hand, 
may not be localized, bearing as it may only on a 
particular category of remembrances, let us say of 
a foreign language with which the subject previ- 
ously was familiar. 

7. The retrograde type of localized amnesia is com- 
mon following emotional shocks. The case of Mme. 
D., made classical by Charcot and Janet, is a very 
excellent example. This woman lost not only all 
memory of the painful emotional state into which 
she w r as thrown by the brutal announcement of her 
husband's death, but of the preceding six weeks. 
The amnesia for the episode might be accounted for 
on the theory of conflict, but it is difficult to explain 
the retrograde extension unless it be there was 


some systematization covering the six weeks' pe- 
riod within the mental life of the patient not dis- 
closed by the examination. 

General and continuous amnesia, the one cover- 
ing the whole previous life of the subject, the other 
for events as fast as they are experienced, also, 
though rarely, occur as the sequence of emotion. 

Subconscious traumatic memories. When an emotional 
complex has once been organized by an emotional 
trauma and more or less dissociated from the per- 
sonality by the conflicting emotional impulses, it is 
conserved as a neurogram more or less isolated. 
The fact of amnesia for the experience is evidence 
of its isolation in that it cannot be awakened and 
synthesized with the personal consciousness. Now, 
given such an isolated neurogram, observation 
shows that it may be excited to autonomous subcon- 
scious activity by associative stimuli of one kind or 
another. It thus becomes an emotional subconscious 
memory-process and may by further incubation and 
elaboration induce phenomena of one kind or 

This is readily understood when it is remembered 
that such a memory, or perhaps more precisely 
speaking its neurogram, is organized with one or 
more emotional dispositions (instincts) and these 
dispositions by their impulsive forces tend when 
stimulated to awaken the memory and carry its 
ideas to fulfillment. The subconscious memory thus 
acquires a striving to fulfil its aim. We ought to 


distinguish in this mechanism between the isolation 
of the neurogram and that of the process. The 
former is antecedent to the latter. 

The phenomena which may be induced by such a 
subconscious memory may be of all kinds such as 
we have seen are induced by subconscious processes 
and emotions hallucinations, various motor phe- 
nomena, disturbances of conscious thought, dreams 
and those phenomena which we have seen are the 
physiological and psychological manifestation of 
emotion and its conflicts, etc. 

Undoubtedly the mental feebleness, manifested 
by a feeling of exhaustion or fatigue, which so fre- 
quently is the sequel of intense conscious emotion, 
favors the excitation to activity of such subcon- 
scious autonomous processes or memory when ante- 
cedent isolation has occurred. This enfeeblement of 
personality probably is the more marked the larger 
the systems included in the dissociation. Certain 
it is that in fatigued states, whether induced by 
physical or mental "storm and stress," subcon- 
scious processes become more readily excited. The 
greater the dissociation the greater the mental insta- 
bility and liability to autonomous processes. Time 
and again it was noted, for instance in the case of 
Miss B. and B. C. A., that when the primary per- 
sonality was exhausted by physical and emotional 
strain, the subconscious personality was able to 
manifest autonomous activity producing all sorts of 
phenomena (when it could not do so in conditions of 
mental health) even to inhibiting the whole primary 


personality.* The direct testimony of the sub- 
conscious personality was to the same effect. 

Mental confusion Fortunate is the person who has 
never felt embarrassment when the attention of 
others has been directed to himself, or when some 
act or thought which he wished to conceal has be- 
come patent to others, or when called upon without 
warning to make a speech in public. Unless one is 
endowed with extraordinary self-assurance he will 
become, under such or similar circumstances, bash- 
ful, self-conscious, and shy, his thought confused, 
and he will find it difficult to respond with ready 
tongue. Associated ideas a propos of the matter in 
hand fail to enter consciousness, his thoughts be- 
come blocked even to his mind becoming a blank; 
he hesitates, stammers, and stands dumb, or too 
many ideas, in disorderly fashion and without ap- 
parent logical relation, crowd in and he is unable to 
make selection of the proper words. In short, his 
mind becomes confused, perhaps even to the extent 
of dizziness. The ideas that do arise are inadequate 
and are likely to be inappropriate, painful, and per- 
haps suspicious. The dominating emotion is early 
reinforced by the awakening of its ally, the fear in- 
stinct, with all its physiological manifestations. 
Then tremor, palpitation, perspiration, and vaso- 
motor disturbances break out. Shame may be 
added to the emotional state. 

* The Dissociation, Chapter XXIX ; My Life as a Dissociated Per- 
sonality, pp. 39 and 41. 


1. This reaction becomes intelligible if we regard 
it as one of conflict resulting in painful bashfulness 
and shame, inhibition of thought; the excitation of 
painful ideas, amnesia, and limitation of the field of 
consciousness. The self-regarding sentiment is 
awakened and dominates the content of conscious- 
ness. The conflict is primarily between two in- 
stincts organized within this sentiment that of 
self-abasement (negative self -feeling) and that of 
self-assertion (positive self feeling). The impul- 
sive force of the former, awakened by the stimulus 
of the situation let us say the presence and imag- 
ined criticism of others opposes and contends with 
that of the latter which is excited by the desire of 
the person to display his powers and meet the oc- 
casion. The result of the struggle between the two 
impulses is emotional agitation or bashfulness. If 
this bashfulness is " qualified by the pain of baf- 
fled positive self feeling" there results the emotion 
of shame.* But these emotional states are not the 
whole consequences of the conflict. Almost always 
fear comes to the rescue as a biological reaction 
for the protection of the individual and impels to 
flight. The impulsive force of this instinct is now 
united to that of self-abasement and the conjoined 
force inhibits or blocks the development of ideas, 
memories, and speech symbols appropriate to the 
occasion and dissociates many perceptions of the 

*In this analysis I follow McDougall who seems to me to have 
analyzed clearly and adequately the emotional conditions. (Social 
Psychology, p. 145.) 


environment. On the other hand, the self-regard- 
ing sentiment evokes various associative abasing 
ideas of self and related memories. The victim is 
fortunate if unfounded suspicions and other pain- 
ful thoughts (through which criticism of self is im- 
agined and the situation falsely interpreted) do not 
arise. Or there may be an oscillation of ideas cor- 
responding to the conflicting sentiments and in- 
stincts. A person in such a condition experiences 
mental confusion and embarrassment. The con- 
dition is often loosely spoken of as self-conscious- 
ness and shyness. 

2. Painfully emotional self-consciousness of this 
type as the sequence of special antecedent psycho- 
genetic factors is frequently met with as an obses- 
sion. Then fear, with its physiological manifesta- 
tions, is always an obtrusive element. Individuals 
who suffer from this psychosis sometimes cannot 
even come into the presence of strangers or any 
public situation without experiencing an attack of 
symptoms such as I have somewhat schematically 
described. The phenomena may be summarized as 
bashfulness, emotion of fear, inhibition, dissocia- 
tion, limitation of the field of consciousness, ideas 
of self, confusion of thought and speech, inappro- 
priate and delayed response, delusions of suspicion, 
tremor, palpitation, etc. 

The symptomatic structure of the psychoneuroses When 

studying the physiological manifestations of emo- 
tion (Lecture XIV), we saw how a large variety of 


disturbances of bodily functions, induced by the dis- 
charge of emotional impulses, may be organized 
into a symptom -complex which might, if repeatedly 
stimulated, recur from time to time. On the basis 
of these physiological manifestations we were able 
to construct a schema of the physiological symp- 
toms occurring in the emotional psycho-neuroses. 
We obtained a structure of such symptoms corre- 
sponding to the facts of clinical experience. We 
then went on in the next lecture to examine the psy- 
chological disturbances induced by emotion and 
found a number of characteristic phenomena. The 
view was held that emotion is the driving force 
which bears along ideas to their end and makes the 
organism capable of activity. We found conflicts 
between opposing impulses resulting in repression, 
dissociation, and inhibition of ideas and instincts, 
and limitation of the field of consciousness. We 
saw that sentiments in which strong emotions 
were incorporated tended to become dominating, 
to the exclusion of other sentiments from con- 
sciousness, and to acquire organic intensity and 
thereby to be carried to fruition. We saw also that 
the dominating emotional discharges might come 
from sentiments within the field of consciousness, 
and therefore of which the individual is aware, or 
from entirely subconscious sentiments of which he 
is unaware. And we saw that conflicts might be be- 
tween entirely conscious sentiments or between a 
conscious and a subconscious sentiment, and so on. 
(Indeed, a conflict may be between two subconscious 


sentiments as may be experimentally demonstrated 
with corresponding phenomena.) 

Now the practical significance of these phenom- 
ena of emotion, both as observed in every-day life 
and under experimental conditions, lies in the fact 
that they enable us to understand the symptomatic 
structure, and up to a certain point the psychogene- 
sis of certain psychoneuroses of very common oc- 
currence. (For a complete understanding of the 
psychogenesis of any given psychoneurosis, such as 
a phobia, we must know all the antecedent experi- 
ences which formed the setting and gave meaning to 
the dominating ideas and determined the in- 
stincts which have become incorporated with them 
to form sentiments. This we saw when study- 
ing the settings in obsessions (Lectures XII and 

It is evident, that, theoretically, if antecedent con- 
ditions have prepared the emotional soil, and if an 
emotional complex, an intense sentiment, or instinct 
should be aroused by some stimulus, any one of a 
number of different possible psychopathic states 
might ensue, largely through the mechanism of con- 
flict, according, on the one hand, to the degree and 
extent of the dissociation, inhibition, etc., estab- 
lished, and on the other to the character and 
systematization of the emotional complex or in- 
stinct. As with the physiological manifesta- 
tions of emotion, we can construct various theo- 
retical schemata to represent the psychological 
structure of these different states. Practically both 


types the physiological and psychological must 
necessarily almost always be combined. 

1. The impulsive force of the emotion might re- 
press all other ideas than the one in question from 
the field of consciousness, which would then be 
contracted to that of the limited emotional complex 
awakened; all opposing ideas and instincts would 
then be dissociated or inhibited a state substan- 
tially of mono-ideism. Let us imagine the domi- 
nating emotional complex to be a mother's belief 
that her child had been killed, this idea being awak- 
ened by the sudden announcement of the news. The 
parental sentiment with child as its object would 
become organized into a complex with the emotions 
of fear, sorrow, painful depressed feelings, etc., 
which the news excited. This complex, being de- 
prived as a result of the ensuing dissociation 
of the inhibiting and modifying influence of all 
counteracting ideas, would be free to expend its 
conative force along paths leading to motor, vis- 
ceral, and other physiological disturbances. An 
emotional complex of ideas would be then formed 
which after the restoration of the normal alert state 
would remain dormant, but conserved in the un- 
conscious. Later, when the emotional complex is 
again awakened by some stimulus (associative 
thoughts), dissociation would again take place and 
the complex again become the whole of the personal 
consciousness for the time being. This theoretical 
schema corresponds accurately with one type of hyster- 
ical attack. 


2. If again the awakened complex should be one 
which is constellated with a large system of dor- 
mant ideas and motives deposited in the uncon- 
cious by the experiences of life, the new field of 
consciousness would not be contracted to a mono- 
ideism. We should have to do with a phase of per- 
sonality, one which was formed by a rearrangement 
of life's experiences. In this case the usual every- 
day settings (or systems) of ideas being in conflict 
with the sentiments of the resurrected system would 
be dissociated and become dormant. The ideas, 
with their affects, which would come to the surface 
and dominate, would be those of previously dor- 
mant emotional complexes and their constellated 
system. The prevailing instincts and other innate 
dispositions would be, respectively, those corre- 
sponding to the two phases, the antagonistic dispo- 
sitions being in each case inhibited. This schema 
would accurately correspond to a so-called "mood." 
If the demarcation of systems were sharply defined 
and absolute so that amnesia of one for the other 
resulted, the new state would be recognized as one 
of dissociated or secondary personality. A "mood" and 
secondary personality would shade into one another. 

3. Still another theoretical schema could be con- 
structed if, following the hysterical dissociated 
state represented by schema 1, there were not a 
complete return to normality, i. e., complete synthe- 
sis of personality. The dissociation effected by the 
impulsive force of the evoked emotional complex 
and the repressed personal self-conscious-system 


might be so intense that, on the restoration of the 
latter, the former would remain dissociated in turn. 
The emotional complex would then, in accordance 
with what we know of the genesis of subconscious 
ideas, become split off from the personal conscious- 
ness and unable to enter the focus of awareness. 
Amnesia for the emotional experience would ensue. 
Such a split-off idea might, through the impul- 
sive force of its emotion and that of its setting, 
take on independent activity and function cocon- 
sciously and produce various automatic phenomena ; 
that is, phenomena which are termed automatic be- 
cause not determined by the personal consciousness. 
The dissociation might include various sensory, 
motor and other functions, thereby robbing the per- 
sonal consciousness of these functions (anesthesia, 
paralysis, etc.). Such a schema corresponds to the 
hysterical subconscious fixed idea (Janet). 

In such a schema also, in accordance with what 
we know of the behavior of emotion, though the 
ideas of the complex remained subconscious, the 
emotion linked with them might erupt into the con- 
sciousness of the personal self. The person would 
then become aware of it without knowing its source. 
The emotion might be accompanied by its various 
physiological manifestations such as we have stu- 
died. If the emotion were one of fear the subject 
might be in an anxious state without knowing why 
he is afraid an indefinable fear, as it is often called 
by the subjects of it. 

4. If, owing to one or more emotional experi- 


ences, an intense sentiment were created in which is 
organized about its object one or more of the emo- 
tions of fear, anger, disgust, self -subjection, etc., 
with their physiological manifestations (tremor, 
palpitation, vasomotor disturbances, nausea, ex- 
haustion, etc.) and their psychological disturbances 
(contraction of the field of consciousness, dissocia- 
tion, etc.) ; and if the whole were welded into a com- 
plex, we would have the structure of an obsession. 
Such an organized complex would be excited from 
time to time by any associated stimulus and develop 
in the form of attacks: hence termed a recurrent 
psychopathic state as well as obsession. (As we 
have seen, the psychogenesis of the sentiment is to 
be found in antecedent experiences organized with 
its object giving meaning and persistence to the ob- 

5. Finally (to add one more schema out of many 
that might be constructed), if a number of physio- 
logical disturbances (pain, secretory, gastric, car- 
diac, etc), such as occur as the symptoms of a dis- 
ease, were through repeated experiences associated 
and thereby organized with the idea of the disease, 
they would recur as an associative process when- 
ever the idea was presented to consciousness. Here 
we have the structure of an "association or habit- 
neurosis," a disease mimicry. Numerous examples 
of the type of cardiac, gastric, pulmonary, laryn- 
geal, joint, and other diseases might be given. The 
physical symptoms in such neuroses are obtrusive, 
while the psychical elements (including emotion) 


which, of course, are always factors, conscious or 
subconscious, remain in the background. 

The study of the individual psychoneuroses be- 
longs to special pathology, and need not concern us 
here. We are only occupied with the general prin- 
ciples involved in their structure and psycho- 



We ought to be able now to construct out of the 
various elements we have studied a general scheme, if 
not the details, of that composite whole which we call 
Personality. This should include its structure as well 
as its elements and dynamics. 

It is obvious that we must have a fairly comprehen- 
sive and accurate conception of these factors if we 
would understand those alterations of personality which 
are met with as pathological conditions and particularly 
their psychogenesis. Multiple personality, for instance, 
as it occurs in the alternating and coconscious types 
can only be comprehended through a knowledge of the 
normal structure and dynamic mechanisms. On the 
other hand the phenomena of this latter pathological 
condition throw a flood of light upon the normal and 
can be utilized to test the validity of theories. I shall 
complete these lectures by a study from the psycho- 
genetic point of view of a case of dissociated and 
multiple personality. Certain phenomena met with 
in this derangement of the normal have been frequently 
cited in the preceding lectures and certain general 
principles underlying them and the alterations giving 
rise to multiplication of the personality and character 



in one individual have been referred to. A study of 
the psychogenesis of a concrete case will on the one 
hand illustrate these principles and, on the other, the 
structure and dynamics of normal personality. 

Before making such a study, however, we ought to 
have a working conception of the normal; and this we 
are entitled, from the point of view of dynamic psy- 
chology, to construct on the basis of data supplied by 
studies of abnormal and normal mental behavior. 
The older way of considering human personality was 
to conceive it as an "ego" with various faculties. We 
may now consider it as a composite structure built 
by experience upon a foundation of performed, in- 
herited, psycho-physiological dynamic mechanisms (in- 
stincts, etc.), containing within themselves their own 
driving forces. 

Let us glance for a moment at this foundation with a 
view to a full comprehension of the significance of the 
innate instinctive and other dispositions composing its 
structure. The structure and the dynamics of these 
dispositions themselves we have already studied 
(Chap. XV). Their teleological aspect needs further 
exposition for in their functioning the processes which 
they carry out have a distinctly purposive character 
for the personality. 

Every instinct has an aim or end which it strives to 
fulfil and which alone satisfies it; and it contains in 
itself the driving force which, as an urge, or impulse, 
sets into activity the mechanism and carries the in- 
stinctive process, unless blocked by some other process, 
to completion and satisfies the aim of the instinct. 


Thus the instinct of flight impelled by the urge of fear 
has an aim to escape from danger and is not satisfied 
until the danger is escaped. Until that end is gained 
fear will not subside. If impeded in its activity it may 
awaken the pugnacity instinct which coming to the 
rescue may fight for safety. Similarly the instincts of 
acquisition and self-assertion are not satisfied and 
their urge persists until their ends are gained the 
acquisition of certain objects in the one case and self- 
display or domination of other individuals or situations 
in the other case. Obviously the instincts and other 
innate dispositions have a biological significance, 
ontogenetically and phylogenetically, in that they 
serve the preservation of the individual and species 
and the perpetuation of the latter. And obviously in 
the drive to satisfy their aims they determine and 
govern behavior. But in doing this they become 
modified and controlled by experience by the disposi- 
tions which are acquired by experience. In this way 
the behavior of the individual becomes adapted to 
the specific situations of the environment. Necessarily 
these modifications of the workings of the innate mech- 
anisms by the imposition of experience upon and 
within them become very complicated and the problems 
of instinct and experience thereby evoked have been 
the object of much study and debate. 

Now with such fundamental innate mechanisms as a 
basis the composite structure of personality is built up 
by experience, according to the theory I am presenting. 

By experience new "dispositions" are deposited 
(i. e., acquired), and organized, systematized, not only 


amongst themselves but integrated with the inherited 
mechanisms. Thus, on the one hand, are formed new 
mechanisms which in their functioning manifest them- 
selves as mental processes and behavior, and, on the 
other, the instinctive mechanisms are brought under 
control by experience and mental processes acquire a 
driving force, or an extra driving force, from the impul- 
sive forces of the integrated instinctive mechanisms. 

Accordingly we may say: Personality is the sum total 
of all the biological innate dispositions, impulses, 
tendencies, appetites and instincts of the individual 
and of all the acquired dispositions and tendencies 
acquired by experience. And to these it is limited. 

The former would embrace inherited, innate psy- 
chophysiological mechanisms or arrangements, such 
as those of the emotions, feelings, appetites and other 
tendencies manifested in instinctive reactions to the 
environment; the latter the memories, ideas, sentiments 
and other intellectual dispositions acquired and organ- 
ized within the personality by the experiences of life. 

The integration into one functioning organism, or 
whole, of all these innate and acquired dispositions 
with their mechanisms and inherent forces by which 
they come into play is personality. 

As thus defined personality includes more than 
character. Character is the sum total of the predom- 
inating dispositions, or tendencies, popularly called 
traits. Thus in the domain of the innate dispositions 
every personality includes anger, fear, curiosity, and 
other instinctive reactions, but one personality might 
possess an angry temperament, while another an 


amiable temperament, meaning that in the one anger 
is aroused quickly and by a large variety of situations; 
in the other it is rarely aroused and by few situations; 
in the one anger is excited whenever the individual is 
thwarted, opposed, or wounded in his feelings; in the 
other the response is never or rarely anger in such 
situations but perhaps sorrow, or pity, or some other 
feeling. One is said to be quick to anger; the other 
slow to anger. Hence the character of the one is said 
to be "good tempered," the other "bad tempered." 
Yet every normal personality will manifest anger in 
some situation. 

Likewise with fear: one person reacts with fear to 
all sorts of threatening situations; another rarely and 
to very few. One is said to have a timorous, or an 
apprehensive, the other a brave, or bold, "sandy," 
character. Yet every one manifests fear in one of its 
phases (apprehension, anxiety, etc.) in some situation. 
There is no personality born without the fear instinct. 

Likewise in the domain of acquired dispositions per- 
sonality includes the ideals, "sentiments," desires, 
points of view, attitudes, etc., of the individual in 
respect to himself , to life and the environment. These 
being acquired by educational, social and environ- 
mental experiences largely differ in every individual. 
Some become common, or substantially common to all 
or many. But those that are peculiar to, or acquire a 
dominating position and influence in the personality, 
play their part and even a greater part than the 
primitive instinctive dispositions in distinguishing the 
character of one personality from that of another. For 


in a large measure they determine the reaction to 
situations, the behavior and the modes of thought as 
intellectual processes. They stamp the quality or 
character of the intelligence (its content) rather than 
the degree or capacity of the same.* On this side, then, 
character is so much of personality as is represented by 
the dominating acquired dispositions of the individual. 
But as innate and acquired dispositions become inter- 
organized by experience, as traits, into complex func- 
tioning wholes, or complexes, acquired traits include 
the former. 

Thus a personality may exhibit a character recog- 
nized as idealistic, altruistic, selfish, egotistic, social, 
anti-social, etc., according to what ideals, "senti- 
ments," morals, etc., have been acquired by experience. 
It is in these respects that he is largely the product of 
his education and environment, the influences of which 
have also organized his innate dispositions (instincts, 
etc.,) with his intellectual processes. 

We have already seen (Lectures IX and XV) that 
the acquired dispositions are, by the very experiences 
by which they are acquired, organized into complexes 
and systems of complexes which are conserved as such 
in the storehouse of the unconscious to be drawn upon 
by memory or to be awakened again to activity as oc- 
casion may demand to serve the purposes of mental life. 
Now, large numbers of these complexes have not only an 

* "Intelligence tests" therefore do not afford tests of character which 
is the most important element of personality from a sociological point 
of view. (See "Character vs. Intelligence in Personality Studies" by 
Dr. Guy Fernald, Jour. Abnormal Psychology, Vol. XV, No. 1.) 


organized structure but a dynamic potentiality and in 
consequence of these two characteristics each tends to 
function as a dynamic psychic whole. For in such com- 
plexes are incorporated one or more emotional or other 
instinctive mechanisms from which their chief energy 
and aim are derived. (This theory postulates not only 
a structure of mental dispositions but a correlated 
structure of hypothetical physiological dispositions 
which I have termed the "neurogram.") * In so far as 
dynamic complexes and systems of complexes have 
structure and tend to function as psychic wholes they 
take on the character of unitary mechanisms or systems. 
From this point of view the most fruitful conception of 
the structure of personality is that which views it as 
built up of dynamic units which may be classed as 
primary and secondary. The primary units are the 
innate psychophysiological arrangements or mechan- 
isms which we have agreed to call the instincts, or 
innate tendencies or dispositions, in many of which are 
incorporated the emotions and other affects. These 
primary units become organized by experience into 
larger units or unitary systems. Whether they are 
also innately organized amongst themselves and by 
themselves into larger systems as some maintain 
(Shand) may or may not be the case. It is not neces- 
sary for our present purposes to consider this problem. 
It is sufficient that those dispositions which are innate, 
such as those of anger, fear, joy, etc., do become or- 

* Indeed I cannot see that mental "disposition" has any reality ex- 
cepting so far as it is derived from its correlated physiological disposi- 
tion. (See p. 266.) 


ganized by and with experiences into larger and larger 
dynamic unitary systems. 

The secondary units are the acquired complexes and 
systems of complexes within which are incorporated 
one or more primary units. In these are found as 
already mentioned the ideals, "sentiments," wishes, 
aspirations, forebodings, apprehensions, and all other 
organized systems of thought which, on the one hand 
have their roots in the deposited experiences of life and, 
on the other, their promptings and urges in the primi- 
tive innate instincts and other dispositions. Thus the 
innate and acquired dispositions are organized into 
unitary systems of greater and greater complexity but 
each having a tendency and, under certain conditions 
of dissociation, a greater or less freedom to function as 
a psychic whole. And the integration or potential 
integration of all these units and unitary complexes and 
systems into a functioning whole is personality. This 
does not mean that all the primary and secondary 
units take part in the functioning of the personality; on 
the contrary, as we have seen, many lie dormant, for 
one reason or the other, in the unconscious. But, as 
we have also seen, they are potentially capable of being 
awakened and determining mental and bodily behavior. 
Furthermore, evidence has been adduced to show that 
the various units of personality do not always cooperate 
and function harmoniously with one another, as no 
doubt they ought to do, but sometimes are incited to 
conflicts and then they play the deuce with the in- 
dividual and he fails to be able to adapt himself to the 
realities of life. 


Amongst these acquired unitary systems there are 
certain ones which are of preeminent importance for 
the personality hi the determination of mental be- 
havior. I refer to those complexes known as the 
sentiments. By this term, as we have seen, is under- 
stood the organization of an acquired disposition the 
idea of an object or complex of such dispositions (the 
psychic whole of idea plus its "meaning" derived from 
the setting of associated experiences) with one or more 
innate emotional dispositions. It must not be over- 
looked for one moment that a sentiment is something 
more than the organization of an emotion or other 
affect with an idea. There is nothing novel or fruitful 
in such a limited conception of the structure of a senti- 
ment as this. A sentiment in its structure is the or- 
ganization of an idea and meaning with an emotional 
instinct which has an aim and end which the instinct 
strives to attain and which alone satisfies the urge of 
the instinct. Such a structure has great significance 
and the conception is a most fruitful one. For because 
of this structure the excitation of the idea necessarily 
involves the excitation of the instinct and the impulse 
of the latter determines behavior in reference to the 
object of the idea and carries the instinct to fruition. 
Thus if the sentiment be one of love the excitation of the 
instincts organized with the object determines through 
their urge the behavior to cherish or possess the object 
of the sentiment. And the attainment of this aim 
alone satisfies it. If the sentiment be one of apprehen- 
sion of an object the instinct of fear incites behavior to 
escape from the danger contained in the meaning of the 


object. A sentiment in the hierarchy of units is a 
unitary system built up by the organization (through 
experience) of primary units with a secondary unitary 
complex (idea, meaning, etc.). 

The importance of the sentiments in the dynamics of 
personality and therefore in the determination of men- 
tal and bodily behavior I have already dwelt upon 
(Lecture XV). But there is one sentiment which 
plays such an important role both in these respects and 
in that unitary system which we know as the empirical 
self, or consciousness of self that something more 
needs to be said about it. This sentiment is that which 
McDougall has termed the "self -regarding senti- 
ment" which is intimately bound up with the idea or 
conception of the empirical self, and both should be 
considered together. It is only by regarding, as it 
seems to me, the conception or idea of the empirical 
self as a secondary unitary complex organized by 
experience that we can approach the solution of the 
problem of the self and understand the phenomenon of 
two selves in one personality, as so often occurs in 
multiple personality. 

The self-regarding sentiment, according to McDou- 
gall' s theoretical analysis and I may say his analysis 
has been confirmed by my own practical analyses of 
concrete cases has structurally organized within it by 
experience the two opposing instincts, self-abasement 
and self-assertion, but either may be the dominating 
one. The idea or conception of self, proper, is, accord- 
ing to the theory, a complex and integrated whole 
organized by experience like the self-regarding senti- 


ment. "McDougall has argued," to quote what I 
have written in a study of multiple personality,* "and 
I think soundly 'that the idea of self and the self- 
regarding sentiment are essentially social products; 
that their development is effected by constant inter- 
play between personalities, between the self and 
society; that, for this reason, the complex conception of 
self thus attained implies constant reference to others 
and to society in general, and is, in fact, not merely a 
conception of self, but always one's self in relation to 
other selves.' But, as I would argue, this formulation 
must be considerably broadened. Every sentiment 
(and therefore the self-regarding sentiment) has roots 
in and is consequently related to what has gone before. 
And the experiences of what has gone before of the 
self, i. e., what has been previously experienced (ideally 
or realistically) by the individual in reference to the 
object of the sentiment, determines the attitude of 
mind and point of view towards that object, and is 
responsible for the organization of the object and 
instinct into a sentiment. The sentiment is the re- 
sultant and the expression of those antecedent expe- 
riences. They form its setting and give it meaning 
beyond the mere emotional tone. You cannot separate 
sentiment, conceived as a linked object and emotional 
instinct, from such a setting. They form a psychic 
whole. This is not only theoretically true, but actual 
dealings with pathological sentiments (in which the 

* Miss Beauchamp: " The Theory of the Psychogenesis of Multiple 
Personality"; Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol. XV, Nos. 2-3; 
pp. 108, 120-121. 


principle can be most clearly studied), called phobias 
and other emotional obsessions, bring out this intimate 
relation between the sentiment , and the conserved 
setting of antecedent experiences. Such practical 
dealings also show not only that the sentiment is the 
outgrowth of and the expression of this setting, but 
that by changing the setting the sentiment can be 
correspondingly altered. ... I want to emphasize 
that in the dynamic functioning of a sentiment the 
setting cooperates in maintaining and carrying it to 
the fruition and satisfaction of its aim." 

So far as concerns the incorporation of the two in- 
stincts, self-abasement and self-assertion, "McDougall 
with keen insight and analysis, has argued that the 
self-regarding sentiment is organized with these two 
innate dispositions, but in different degrees in different 
individuals, and with the growth of the mind one may 
replace the other in the adaptation of the individual 
to the changing environment. Taking two extreme 
types, he draws a picture of the proud, arrogant, self- 
assertive, domineering person, with the feeling of 
masterful superiority, and angry resentment of crit- 
icism and control, and who knows no shame and is 
indifferent to moral approval and disapproval. In 
this personality the instincts of self-assertion and 
anger are the dominating innate dispositions of the 
self-regarding sentiment. On the other hand we have 
the type of the submissive, dependent character, with 
a feeling of inferiority, when the contrary disposition 
is the dominating one. McDougall's analysis was 
beautifully illustrated in the case of Miss Beauchamp 


by two personalities, BI and BIV, fragments of the 
original self, which were actual specimens from real 
life of his theoretic types. Again McDougall's theoretic 
analysis of the conception of self, showing the idea to 
be one 'always of one's self in relation to other selves,' 
is concretely illustrated and substantiated by the 
dissection of this mind effected by trauma." 

The study of another case, that of "Maria" furnished 
the same results as respects the two personalities that 
were manifested, as did that of "B. C. A." 

As to the conception of the empirical self and as "an 
important addition to this theory both from a struc- 
tural and dynamic point of view, I would insist again 
that the complex conception of self includes a setting of 
mental experiences of much wider range, in which the 
idea of self is incorporated and which gives the idea 
meaning. The range of this setting extends beyond 
'other selves' and 'society in general' and may include 
almost any of life's experiences.'' By way of illustra- 
tion let us take the two selves known as the "Saint" 
(BI) and the "Realist" (BIV) in the case of Miss Beau- 
champ. "Concretely and more correctly the psycho- 
logical interpretation of the 'reference to others and 
society in general,' of the relation of one's self to other 
selves, would in this particular instance be as follows: 
the Saint's conception of self (with the self-regarding 
sentiment) was related to an ideal world and ideal 
selves contained in religious conceptions; and hence it 
became organized in a larger setting which gave it a 
meaning of divine perfection such as is obtained, or 
aspired to by saints, and in which were incorporated 


the emotional dispositions of awe, reverence, love, self- 
abasement, etc. This conception was not a product of, 
or related to the social environment. Rather it was the 
product of an ideal world. She, as has been said, lived 
in a world of idealism, oblivious of the realities round 
about her, which she saw not 'clearly and truly' but as 
they were colored by her imagination. Her idea of self 
thus became the 'saintly sentiment' of self-perfection. 

"On the other hand the conception of self in BIV, the 
Realist, was related to and set in the realities of this 
social world as they clearly are, the world of her ob- 
jective environment. And in this conception of self 
the instinctive dispositions of self-assertion and anger 
contributed the promptings and motive force to dom- 
inate these realities and bend them to her will." 

It must be an obvious conclusion from the numerous 
and multiform subconscious phenomena which were 
cited in previous lectures that all the unitary and com- 
plexes and systems which enter into the composite 
structure of personality do not necessarily emerge into 
awareness. Some function subconsciously and in this 
way determine conscious mental processes and behavior. 
Many remain conserved in the unconscious and have 
only a potential reality in that they remain latent but 
susceptible of being awakened into activity. It is also 
true that in the course of the growth of the personality 
many become modified by experience and metamor- 
phosed into new sentiments, new ideals, new desires, 
new apprehensions, new meanings, etc. 

The necessity for adaptation of the personality to 
the realities of life necessarily gives rise to conflicts, for 


the urges of some unitary complexes cannot be satisfied, 
and some are incompatible with the situations which 
reality presents, or with one another. A practical solu- 
tion of the problem is compulsory. Compensation is 
sought. Sometimes compensation or compromise is 
successfully attained; sometimes it is not. Or the 
solution may be accepted and the urge of a rebellious 
system incompatible with the demands of reality is 
suppressed by voluntary or automatic repression. 
When neither compensation nor compromise is at- 
tained, or when the situation is not accepted and the 
rebellious urge continues, then disruption or disar- 
rangement of the personality may follow with such 
resulting phenomena as have been already described. 
Integrated systems may become disintegrated or dis- 
sociated, permitting of independent autonomous func- 
tioning of conflicting systems. And of the unitary 
systems taking part in such conflicts one or more may, 
as we have seen, function subconsciously. Further- 
more, as observation shows, dissociated complexes 
may take on growth independently of the integrated 
systems of the personal consciousness and thus create 
large subconscious systems. On the other hand both 
one or more primary units (innate dispositions) and 
secondary unitary complexes and systems (acquired 
dispositions) may by the force of conflicts be com- 
pletely repressed and cease to function within the 
personality. Thus, for example, certain instincts may 
be suppressed and systematic amnesia and other de- 
fects be produced. And so on. 

Without pursuing further this exposition of the 


empirical personality or going into details, it would 
seem that some such conception of the structure of 
personality as that of which I have given a mere out- 
line will alone satisfy the phenomena actually observed 
under normal and abnormal conditions. Indeed the 
theory would seem to be a compelling induction from 
the phenomena derived from clinical observation and 

Against this preliminary sketch of the structure and 
dynamic mechanisms of the normal personality as a 
background I will in the next lecture present a study of a 
case of dissociated and multiple personality, as the 
alterations of structure and the dynamic manifesta- 
tions observed in cases of this kind, on the one hand, 
concretely illustrate the principles involved, and, on 
the other, present some of the most important data on 
which the theory is founded. 




As an introduction let me say that in a previous lec- 
ture (The Unconscious, Lecture VIII) I pointed out 
that in a general way alteration of personality is effected 
through the primary organization by experience and 
later coming into dominating activity of particular 
unitary systems of ideas with their affects, on the one 
hand, and the displacement by dissociation or inhibi- 
tion of other conflicting systems on the other. In 
slighter degrees and when transient this alteration 
may be regarded as a mood. When the alteration is 
more enduring, and so marked by contrast with the 
preceding and normal condition as to obtrusively alter 
the character and behavior of the individual and 
his capacity for adjustment to his environment, we 
have a pathological condition. When the alteration is 
slight and affects few systems it may be easily over- 

* This study was first published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychol- 
ogy, Oct., 1919, but originally was written for this volume. It was 
omitted with other lectures from the first edition to limit the size of 
the volume. 



looked; or when it is accompanied, as it often is, by 
physiological disturbances, it may be so masked by 
them as to be mistaken for so-called neurasthenia. It is 
when the dissociation is so comprehensive as to deprive 
the individual of memory of his previous phase of per- 
sonality, or of certain acquired knowledge or other 
particular experiences that the personality is easily 
recognized as a dissociated one. When the inhibiting or 
repressing force that induces dissociation ceases to be 
effective, that is when the dissociated systems come 
again into activity and repress the temporarily dom- 
inant systems, then the individual returns to his normal 
condition (in which he may or may not remember the 
dissociated state), just as a person returns to his habit- 
ual character after the passing of a mood. We may 
speak of the two phases the normal and the altered 
one as constituting together multiple personality. As 
these two phases may continue to alternate with one 
another they are also alternating personalities. The 
second or altered state is also sometimes called a sec- 
ondary personality. There may be several such sec- 
ondary personalities which may alternate with each 
other or the normal personality. 

It should be noted that the formation of a secondary 
personality is primarily the result of two processes, 
dissociation and synthesis though it is subject to sec- 
ondary growth through various processes. As a result 
of the first process, dissociation, systems of thought, 
ideas, memories, emotions and dispositions previously 
habitual in the individual may cease to take part in the 
affected person's mental processes. The influence of 

these systems with their conative tendencies is therefore 
no longer for the time being in play. 

When we pass in review a large number of cases, we 
find that the systems of ideas, which (through the dis- 
sociating process) cease to take part in personality, may 
be quite various. One or more "sides" to one's charac- 
ter, for instance, may vanish, and the individual may ex- 
hibit always a single side on all occasions; or the ethical 
systems built up and conserved by early pedagogical, 
social, and environmental training may cease to take 
part in the mental processes and regulate conduct; or, 
again, the ideas which pertain to the lighter side of life 
and its social enjoyments may be lost and only the more 
serious attributes of mind retained. There may even 
be amnesia in consequence of dissociation for chrono- 
logical epochs of the individual's life, or for certain 
particular episodes, or for certain specific knowledge, 
such as educational acquirements (mathematics, Greek, 
Latin, music, literature, etc., or knowledge of a trade or 
profession, and even of language). Amnesia alone, 
however, does not constitute alteration of personality 
strictly speaking; for a person may have complete loss 
of memory for certain specific experiences without true 
alteration of character. It is of important significance, 
as we shall see, that the dissociated or inhibited * 
systems may include emotions, instincts and innate 

* Dissociation and inhibition are not coextensive terms for although 
inhibition implies dissociation, a dissociated element may not be neces- 
sarily inhibited as it may function subconsciously or independently of 
the personal consciousness. 


Examination of recorded cases shows too that besides 
mental memories, physiological functions may be in- 
volved in the dissociation. Thus there may be loss of 
sensation in its various forms, and of the special senses, 
or of the power of movement (paralysis), or of visceral 
functions (gastric, sexual, etc.). Dissociation may, 
then, involve quite large parts of the personality in- 
cluding very precise and definite physiological and 
psychological functions. We see examples of these 
different dissociations in numerous cases. 

As to the mechanism by which pathological dis- 
sociation is effected, it may be well to point out here 
that there is no reason to suppose that it is anything 
more than an exaggeration of the normal mechanism 
by which, on the one hand, mental processes are 
temporarily inhibited from entering the field of con- 
sciousness, and, on the other, physiological functions 
are normally suppressed and prevented from taking 
part in the psychophysiological economy. (For in- 
stance, the suppression of the gastro-intestinal func- 
tions by an emotional discharge.) Every mental 
process involves the repression of some conflicting 
process; otherwise all would be chaos in the mind. And 
every physiological process involves some repression of 
another process. The movements of walking involve 
the inhibition alternatively of the flexor and extensor 
muscles according as which is active in the movement. 

This principle is conspicuous in absent mindedness 
and voluntary attention when every antagonistic or 
irrelevant thought and even consciousness of the en- 
vironment is prevented by a conflicting force from 


entering the field of consciousness. In other words, 
every mental process involves a conflict and inhibition : 
in physiological terms a raising of the threshold of the 
antagonistic mental process in consequence of which 
it cannot function unless the stimulus be increased. 
This is a normal mechanism and process. The condi- 
tions which determine absolute and continuous dis- 
sociation or inhibition become the object of study. 

By the second process, synthesis, particular unitary 
systems of ideas with the conative tendencies of their 
feeling tones rise to the surface out of the unconscious 
and become synthesized with the perceptions, and 
such memories and other mental systems and faculties 
of the individual as are retained. Thus it may be that 
unitary dispositions, sentiments and systems belonging 
to a particular "side" of the character the amiable 
or the brutal, the unselfish or the selfish, the ungen- 
erous or the generous, the practical or the idealistic, the 
literary or the business, the religious or worldly, the 
youthful and gay, or the mature and serious, etc., 
to any side may become uppermost and be the dominant 
trait of the secondary personality. Or it may be that 
the systems of ideas, disposition, etc., belonging to 
childhood and long outgrown, but conserved neverthe- 
less in the unconscious, may be resurrected and becom- 
ing synthesized with other systems form a personality 
childish in character. Or, again, sentiments, thoughts, 
dispositions, tendencies, instincts which, though inti- 
mately belonging to the individual, have been re- 
strained, repressed, concealed from the world for one 
reason or another, may, being set free through dis- 


sociation from the repressing thoughts, rise to the 
surface and take part in the synthesis of the new per- 

In other words there is a rearrangement and read- 
justment of the innate dispositions and those deposited 
by the experiences of life which go to form personality. 
Some by the process of dissociation are expelled from 
the personal synthesis; some which had been previously 
expelled (repressed) by education, maturity of char- 
acter, direct volition, and other processes of mental 
development are brought back into it. 

It is obvious that when such rearrangements and 
readjustments have occurred the mental reactions of the 
individual will vary largely from what they were be- 
fore. The reaction to the environment will become 
altered. When systems which give rise to the habitual 
modes of thought are dissociated, naturally the reac- 
tions of the individual will not be influenced by them 
but by those of the new synthesis, and the character 
will be correspondingly changed. Inasmuch as out 
of the great storehouse of the unconscious any number 
of combinations of systems may be arranged, it is 
obvious that any number of secondary personalities 
may be formed in the same person. As many as ten or 
twelve have been observed. 

A study of cases which have come under my personal 
observation, and the reports to be found in the litera- 
ture of those cases of multiple personality which have 
been studied with sufficient intensity and exhaustive- 
ness, allow these general and preliminary statements, 
which are little more than descriptive of the facts, to 


be verified.* One of the best examples is the case of 
B. C. A. which I had an opportunity of studying over a 
long period of time, and to which reference has been 
frequently made. I shall take this as the object of our 
study in psychogenesis.f 

This subject has herself written at my request two 
introspective analyses of her own case, one by the 
normal personality and the other by the secondary 
personality. These analyses are of great value. J 
They give different versions of the same facts in ac- 
cordance with the differing memories, knowledge and 
points of view of the differing personalities. The 
second also gives an account of the claimed co-conscious 
life as experienced by herself and unknown to the 
normal personality. We cannot do better than take 
them as a basis for a genetic study of the case and 
reproduce portions of them here. In this study I have 
made use, in addition to this material, of a large number 

* Unfortunately most of the reported cases were not studied from a 
genetic point of view and the reports are too meagre to afford sufficient 
data for a study of this kind. But in many cases the principles can be 
recognized. In the article "Hysteria from the Point of View of Dis- 
sociated Personality," Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Oct., 1906, I 
have given a synopsis in tabulated form of the reports accessible up 
to the date of publication. 

1 1 would refer those who are interested in this problem of personality 
to a similar but more exhaustive study of the case of "Miss Beau- 
champ" which I have recently published in the Journal of Abnormal 
Psychology, Vol. XV, Nos. 2 and 3, 1920. A descriptive account of 
the case was published in 1906: The Dissociation of a Personality; 
New York; Longmans, Green & Co., 1906. 

t Published under the title "My Life as a Dissociated Personality" 
in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology; Oct.-Nov., 1908 and Dec.-Jan., 


of personal observations extending over five years, of 
numerous letters and analyses written by the subject at 
different times in her various phases of personality, 
of the memories in hypnosis, in which state many 
subconscious and dissociated perceptions and thoughts 
not otherwise remembered are brought to light, and of 
numerous analyses of her memories made on many 
occasions, at the expense of many hours of labor. 
Other sources of information have also been made use 
of. This investigation has resulted in a voluminous 
collection of records rilling several large portfolios. In 
making the analyses and in many of the letters the 
subject, with extreme frankness and in the interests 
of psychology has gone in great detail into and has 
laid bare the most intimate facts of her mental life. 
This is true of each of the phases of personality, so that 
the point of view from which the same facts were seen 
in different moods has been obtained. This is a matter 
of no small consequence as the same fact often acquires 
a different aspect or meaning according to the view 
point of the mood in which it is experienced. A large 
amount of data pertaining to the inner life of the subject 
has thus become accessible. It is obvious that data of 
this sort are necessary if the psychological status of 
any given period of an individual's life is to be related to 
antecedent mental experiences as etiological factors. 
But this sort of data is that which usually is most 
difficult to obtain. Our inner lives we keep hidden as 
in a sealed book from the world. In all published re- 
ports of multiple personality these data are lacking, the 
studies dealing almost entirely with such facts only as 


were open to the observation of the investigator. It 
necessarily results from such a study of the inner life 
of a person living in the circle to which this subject 
belongs that many of the data are too intimate and 
personal for publication. However much one may be 
interested in science there is a point beyond which one 
shrinks from exposing one's self in print. I am, there- 
fore, at many points very properly limited to the use of 
general phrases and summarizing expressions instead 
of explicit statements of particular facts which, I am 
aware, would be more satisfactory to the critic. This 
limitation cannot be helped, but is probably com- 
pensated for by the fact that, if it did not exist, the 
subject would be one whose introspective observations 
would be of much less value. 

I will only add to this statement that the data were 
not collected in support of a preconceived theory or 
even of a working hypothesis, but only after they were 
gathered in fact, after much of this material was 
forgotten were they brought together and studied. 
It was then found that when the different pieces of 
evidence were pieced together they allowed of only one 
conclusion, namely, that which the subject herself in 
the main reached independently as the facts were laid 
bare and brought into the field of her consciousness by 
the means I have described. 

By way of preface to the subject's introspective 
analyses I reproduce here the following remarks, which 
I wrote as an introduction to the "Life," but slightly 
expanded and with a few 'verbal changes to make the 
matter clearer. 


An account of the various phases of dissociated personality written 
by the patient after recovery and restoration of memory for all the 
different phases cannot fail to be of interest. If the writer is en- 
dowed with the capacity for accurate introspection and statement 
such an account ought to give an insight into the condition of the 
mind during these dissociated states that is difficult to obtain from 
objective observation, or, if elicited from a clinical narration of the 
patient, to accurately transcribe. In that remarkable book, "A 
Mind that Found Itself," the author, writing after recovery from 
insanity, has given us a unique insight into the insane mind. Sim- 
ilarly the writer of the following account allows us to see the begin- 
nings of the differentiation of her mind into complexes, the final 
development of a dissociated or multiple personality, and to under- 
stand the moods, points of view, motives, and dominating ideas 
which characterized each phase. Such an account could only be 
given by a person who has had the experience, and who has the 
introspective and literary capacity to describe it. 

The writer in publishing, though with some reluctance and at my 
request, her experiences as a multiple personality, is actuated only, as 
I can testify, by a desire to contribute to our knowledge of such condi- 
tions. The experiences of her illness now happily recovered from 
have led her to take an active interest in abnormal psychology and to 
inform herself, so far as is possible by the study of the literature, on 
manyof the problems involved. The training thus acquired has plainly 
added to the accuracy and value of her introspective observations. 

A brief preliminary statement will be necessary in order that the 
account as told by the patient may be fully intelligible. 

The subject was under my observation for about four years. 
When first seen the case presented the ordinary picture of so-called 
neurasthenia, characterized by persistent fatigue and the usual 
somatic symptoms, and by moral doubts and scruples. This con- 
dition, at first unsuspected, was later found to be a phase of multiple 
personality and was then termed and is described in the following 
account as state or personality A. Later another state, spoken of as 
personality B, suddenly developed. A had no memory of B, but the 
latter had full knowledge of A. Besides differences in memory 
A and B manifested distinct and markedly different characteristics 


and traits which included moods, tastes, health, emotions, feelings, 
instincts, sentiments, points of view, habits of thought, and con- 
trolling ideas. In place, for instance, of the depression, fatigue, and 
moral doubts and scruples of A, B manifested rather a condition of 
exaltation, and complete freedom from neurasthenia and its accom- 
panying obsessional ideas. A and B alternated during a long period 
of time with one another. After A, for example, had existed as a 
personality for a number of hours or days she changed to B, and 
vice versa. After the first appearance of B it was soon recognized 
that both states were only fragments, so to speak, or phases of a 
dissociated personality, and neither represented the normal com- 
plete personality. After prolonged study this latter normal state 
was obtained in hypnosis (c'), and on being waked up a personality 
was found which possessed the combined memories of A and B, and 
was free from the pathological stigmata which respectively char- 
acterized each. This normal person is spoken of as C. Normal C 
had, therefore, been split and resynthesized into two systems of 
complexes or personalities, A and B. Leaving out for the sake of 
simplicity certain intermediate hypnotic states, A and B could be 
hypnotized into a single hypnotic state which was a synthesis that 
could be recognized as a complete normal personality in hypnosis. 
All that remained to do was to wake up this state and we had the 
normal C. This process could be reversed and repeated as often as 
desired: that is, C could be split again into A and B, then resyn- 
thesized in c' who when awakened became C again. This relation- 
ship may be diagramatically expressed as follows: * 

1 The broken lines indicate dissociation; the solid lines, synthesis. 


The various traits which characterized and differen- 
tiated the different personalities will appear in the 
course of this genetic study. With this introduction 
we will proceed to the latter. 



The first of the accounts above mentioned by the 
normal personality, C, written after recovery, is in the 
form of a letter. She had complete memory for both 
her phases A and B. It will be noticed in passing that 
this normal self speaks of the phases A and B as herself, 
transformed to be sure, but still herself in different 
"states." "As A, I felt" so and so, "as B, / felt" 
thus, etc. On the other hand, the secondary personal- 
ity, B, in her account, always refers to the other per- 
sonalities as distinct personages, and uses the third 
person "she" in speaking of them. In this matter of 
differentiation of personalities B was very insistent, 
maintaining, as has been frequently noted in other 
cases, that she had no sense of identity of her own self- 
consciousness with that of the others. "I am, at 
any rate, a distinct personality," she remarks. In 
her consciousness there was no feeling that the self- 
consciousness of C and A was identical with her own, 
but the contrary. This frequent phenomenon pre- 
sents a standpoint from which the problem of the 
"I" may be studied. What is it that determines the 
self -consciousness of an ego? We are not concerned 
with this old question at present, but it is worth noting 


that cases of dissociated personality offer favorable 
material for the solution of the problem. 

The following extracts from the accounts by "C" 
and "B" have been taken as a basis for our analysis 
which will further attempt to coordinate the two 
accounts and to clarify the psychological development 
of the case. 



You have asked me to give you an account of my illness as it 
seems to me now that I am myself and well; describing myself in 
those changes of personality which we have called "A" and "B." 

It is always difficult for one to analyze one's self accurately and 
the conditions have been very complex. I think, however, that I 
have a clear conception and appreciation of my case. I remember 
myself perfectly as "A" and as "B." I remember my thoughts, my 
feelings, and my points of view in each personality, and can see 
where they are the same and where they depart from my normal 
self. These points of view will appear as we go on and I feel sure 
that my memory can be trusted. I recall clearly how in each state 
I regarded the other state and how in each I regarded myself. 

As I have said, I have now, as "C," all the memories of both 
states (though none of the co-conscious life which, as B, I claimed 
and believed I bad). These memories are clearly differentiated in my 
mind* It would be impossible to confuse the two as the moods 
which governed each were so absolutely different, but it is quite 
another thing to make them distinct on paper. I have, however, 
been so constantly under your observation that you can, no doubt, 
correct any statement I may make which is not borne out by your 
own knowledge. 

* I have italicized a number of words and sentences not thus em- 
phasized in the original account. 


I am, perhaps, of a somewhat emotional nature, and have never 
been very strong physically though nothing of an invalid. I have 
always been self-controlled and not at all hysterical, as I would use 
the word. On the contrary, I was, I am sure, considered a very 
sensible woman by those who know me well, though I am not so 
sure what they may think of me now. I am, however, very sensitive 
and responsive to impressions in the sense that I am easily affected 
by my environment. For instance, at the theatre I lose myself in 
the play and feel keenly all the emotions portrayed by the actors. 
These emotions are reflected vividly in my face and manner sometimes 
to the amusement of those with me and, if the scene is a painful one, it 
often takes me a long time to recovei' from the effect of it. The same is 
true of scenes from actual life* 

Before this disintegration took place I had borne great responsi- 
bility and great sorrow with what I think I am justified in calling 
fortitude, and I do not think the facts of my previous life would 
warrant the assumption that I was naturally nervously unstable. 
It does not carry great weight, I know, for one to say of one's self, 
I am sensible, I am stable, I am not hysterical, but I believe the 
statement can be corroborated by the testimony of those who 
have known me through my years of trial. The point I wish to 
make is that my case shows that such an illness as I have had is 
possible to a constitutionally stable person and is not confined to 
those of an hysterical tendency. 

A year previous to this division of personality a long nervous 
strain, covering a period of four years, had culminated in the death 
of one very dear to me my husband. I was, at the end of that 
period, in good physical health, though nervously worn, but this 
death occurred in such a way as to cause me a great shock, and 
within the six days following I lost twenty pounds in weight. For 
nearly three months I went almost entirely without food, seemingly 
not eating enough to sustain life. I did not average more than three 
or four hours' sleep out of the twenty-four, but I felt neither hungry 
nor faint, and was extremely busy and active, being absorbed both 
by home responsibilities and business affairs. The end of the year 

* Sympathetically excited emotions (instincts). 


(5 years after the beginning of my husband's illness), however, 
found me in very poor health physically and I was nervously and 
mentally exhausted. I was depressed, sad, felt that I had lost all 
that made life worth living and, indeed, I wished to die. I was 
very nervous, unable to eat or sleep, easily fatigued, suffered con- 
stantly from headache, to which I had always been subject, and 
was not able to take much exercise. The physician under whose 
care I was at this time told me, when I asked him to give my condi- 
tion a name, that I was suffering from "nervous and cerebral ex- 

It was at this time that the shock which caused the division of per- 
sonality occurred [resulting in period III]. 

Although this last statement is true so far as con- 
cerns the complete dissociation of personality which 
resulted in the birth of an independent alternating per- 
sonality, the first beginning of the genesis of that 
personalty can be traced back to a far earlier period 
when she was about twenty years of age, that is to say 
nineteen years before the final cleavage. These beginnings 
were an embryonic cluster or unitary complex of rebellious 
ideas, "floating thoughts, impulses, desires, inclinations" 
and intense feelings which came into being at this early 
period in consequence of an emotional trauma. 

I propose to trace in the course of this study, first, 
the gradual growth by successive syntheses of this 
rebellious cluster with other idea-clusters during a 
period of fourteen years. 

Second, its incubation, organization and segregation 
from the main personality during a second period of 
five years as a fairly well defined unitary complex 
known as the B complex. 

Third, the culmination of the incubating process and, 


as the result of an emotional shock, final bursting into 
flower of the B complex as the B personality (i. e., 
nineteen years from the tune of the beginning of 
disaggregation through rebellious thoughts). 

Fourth, the reversion to the original personality, but 
now one so disintegrated, shorn and shattered by the 
segregation of the autonomous B complex and of certain 
instincts as to be a so-called secondary disintegrated 
personality, A. 

Fifth, the alternation of these two strongly contrasted 
abnormal personalities. 

Finally, the reintegration of the two abnormal 
personalities into one normal original personal- 
ity, C. 

In following the evolution of the personalities my 
main purpose will be to bring to light the psychological 
forces which brought about the disaggregation, on the 
one hand, and the synthetic construction of the new 
personal systems, on the other. The following ar- 
rangement of these changes in the personality by 
periods will be convenient for reference.* 

Period I. From wedding to beginning of husband's 
illness (14 years) characterized by a 
group of rebellious ideas. 

Period II. During husband's illness (4 years) and 
one year thereafter (5 years), charac- 
terized by B complex and terminating 
with shock. 

* The division into periods follows that given in the second account 


Period III. Beginning with shock, characterized by 
B personality and terminating one month 
later by another shock in 

Period IV. Personality A, plus B complex, lasting 
one week, followed by 

Period V. Characterized by alternations of A and 
B personalities and lasting several years 
until reintegrated in original normal 
personality, C. 

All these changes from period I to IV inclusive were 
caused by emotional shocks awakened by a common 
factor in closely associated situations. In period IV the 
A personality had no amnesia for personality B. This 
amnesia developed in period V. 



The writer C in her account passes over the early 
first period, but she remembers clearly the historical 
facts and has given a very precise description of them 
in the many analyses which have been made and re- 
corded. Moreover in the second account,* written in 
the secondary B phase of personality, she recognizes 
the embryonic emotional complex of this first period, 
and its genetic relation to the later B complex, and to 
her own still later developed B personality. "This 
complex" she (B) wrote, "it seems to me is the same, 
though only slightly developed, as that which appeared 

* Journal Abnormal Psychology, Vol. Ill, No. 5, p. 311. 


later and is described as complex B. In trying to 
explain this condition, which it seems to me was the 
first start of what ultimately resulted in a division of 
personality, I will divide the time into periods, and I 
will call this period I." (This same division into 
periods I have thought it well to follow.) She also 
identified the ideas of this early complex with ideas 
and feelings which she still entertained and which 
formed a marked characteristic of her own dissociated 
(B) personality. 

For the sake of clearness and simplicity of phraseol- 
ogy it will be well from now on to speak of the subject 
when in the dissociated B state simply as B, and when 
united in the normal state as C. In this way, as C 
points out, we shall avoid constant repetition and cir- 
cumlocution in such phrases as, "when the subject was 
in the B state," etc. You must not, however, be mis- 
led by the connotation of terms and read into this 
nomenclature more than the psychological facts war- 
rant, or make distinctions of personality which tran- 
scend in any way psychological laws. Dissociated and 
multiple personality are not novel freak phenomena, 
but are only exaggerations of the normal and due to 
exaggerations of normal processes, and it is for this 
reason that they are of interest and importance. For, 
being exaggerations, they accentuate and bring out 
into high relief certain tendencies and functional 
mechanisms which belong to normal conditions, and 
they differentiate mental processes, one from another, 
which normally are not so easily recognized. 

They are caricatures, so to speak, of the normal. In 


one respect they may be likened to the staining of an 
anatomical specimen prepared for the microscope by 
which the various anatomical structures are brought 
out into strong contrast with one another and easily 
differentiated, like the boundaries of countries on a 
colored map. Without the staining all would have a 
homogeneous appearance and differentiation would be 
difficult. So, though a secondary personality is in one 
sense but a phase of the whole personality, it is char- 
acterized largely by an accentuation or domination 
of particular constituents to be found in the given 
normal everyday personality, and by the subordination 
or suppression of others, both being effected by the 
exaggeration of the normal processes of dissociation 
and synthesis. In such a secondary personality these 
constituents and processes are easily recognized though 
they may be hidden under normal conditions. In 
saying that a secondary personality is a phase of the 
whole personality the latter term whole personality- 
must be taken in the sense of including all the past 
experiences of life which have been organized, deposited 
and conserved in the unconscious, and all the instincts 
and innate dispositions of the individual. These past 
experiences form, as we have seen,* a storehouse of 
formative material which, for the most part, under 
ordinary conditions, may lie dormant though potential; 
but any elements of this material may, under special 
influences, be awakened to activity and, uniting with 
particular constituents of the normal everyday per- 
sonality, take part under the urge of their own instinc- 

* Lecture IX. 


tive impulses and dispositions in the formation of a 
new personality. The remainder of the normal per- 
sonality then becomes submerged and dormant in the 

To return to the evolution of the B personality. If 
this final phase be correctly traced back 19 years to the 
early antecedent rebellious complex above referred to, 
we shall see that the evolution of multiple personality 
in this case passed through several successive stages 
and was of slow growth. Speaking generally, it may, 
indeed, be ascribed, primarily, on the one hand, to the 
disruptive or dissociating effect of continuous conflicts 
between the opposing impulses of innate dispositions 
and instincts (emotions), and, on the other, to the 
gradual synthesization of the components of per- 
sonality repressed by these conflicts into the sub- 
conscious. The secondary incubation of these repressed 
and other deposited experiences of life followed, with 
the final setting free of all this formative material, when 
fully matured, by the force, awakened by a trauma, of 
the conative emotional impulses belonging to it. The 
analogues of these phenomena and mechanisms are 
observed in sudden religious conversion which in prin- 
ciple is an alteration of personality.* 

All the historical evidence at hand, derived from 
searching investigation, goes to show that at the early 
period to which I have referred (period I) the subject 

* Prince: Jour. Abnormal Psychology. Vol. I, No. 1, 1906. Also, 
The Dissociation of a Personality, 2nd ed., Chap. XXI. James: 
Varieties of Religious Experiences. 


received an emotional shock, "which," B wrote, "it 
seems to me, as I look at it now, resulted in the first 
cleavage of personality. This emotion was one of 
fright and led to rebellion [in the form of rebellious 
thoughts] against a certain condition of her life, and 
formed a small vague complex [of thoughts and emo- 
tions] which persisted in the sense that it recurred from 
time to tune, though it was always immediately sup- 
pressed." * And this vague complex of rebellious 
thoughts necessarily soon gave rise to and included 
other "floating thoughts, impulses, desires, inclina- 
tions," all of which the subject suppressed or en- 
deavored to suppress during a long period of years. 
"This complex," she adds, as quoted above, "it seems 
to me, was the same, though only slightly developed, as 
that which appeared later, and is described as com- 
plex B." 

The "shock" when more deeply analyzed proved to 
be the excitation of certain emotions which, besides a 
mild degree of fright, were intense repugnance or dis- 
gust. They were a reaction to or defense against 
another affect, which was also excited and which we 
will term, in deference to our subject's good taste, X. 
The emotion of repugnance was so intense as to require 
considerable fortitude to withstand and gave rise to 
much agitation. It accompanied a cluster of "rebel- 
lious" ideas awakened by the realization of an unex- 
pectedly disagreeable situation and relation. This 
cluster I shall call the rebellious complex to distinguish 

* I. e., "Tried not to think of it"; "put it out of her mind as a dis- 
agreeable fact." 


it from the later B complex into which it became con- 
stellated. This rebellious complex with the emotion 
of repugnance (instinct of repulsion) was of necessity 
frequently excited by the conditions of life and, there- 
fore, of frequent recurrence, after the fashion of an 
obsession. After the first shock the fright naturally 
subsided, for one reason, from habituation to the con- 
ditions. The X affect, never experienced before, from 
the very first was repressed by the inhibiting force of 
the more intense emotion of disgust.* Fear also was 
involved in this repression, for there was a conflict 
between the opposing forces of conflicting emotions; 
and in such a conflict as, for example, between fear 
and anger the stronger tends to repress its antagonist 
and whatever it conflicts with. Consequently the 
recurring rebellious complex was habitually accom- 
panied by repugnance alone. The exact constitution 
of this rebellious complex I am not at liberty to men- 
tion. It may have been a matter of mother-in-law, or 
of social arrangements, or particular duties and re- 
sponsibilities, or something else it does not matter 
and it is not necessary to say. It was a shrinking from a 
particular condition of her life. It was certainly not a 
wish unless this repugnance and "kicking against the 
pricks" can be twisted into its opposite as a wish to 
be free from the objectionable condition. Still less 
was it a morally unacceptable unconscious, being just 
the opposite; for both the rebellious thoughts and the 
wish to be free from the condition objected to were 
acceptable and justified to herself in her mind, and, in 

* Instinct of repulsion (McDougall). 


her secret thoughts at least, tolerated as natural and 
reasonable.* Nor was the X affect an intolerable wish. 
If a wish there was no reason why it should not have 
been gratified. Nevertheless, as B affirms, the rebel- 
lious thoughts were put out of mind, as thoughts of a 
disagreeable fact, as they arose from time to time; but 
this was only from a sense of duty in consideration of 
responsibilities undertaken. I could make this clearer 
if I were at liberty to enter into the details of these 
rebellious thoughts. Her life in every other respect 
was an unusually happy one, surrounded by all that 
one should desire, and included a devoted husband 
whom she loved, admired and respected. For these 
reasons alone she felt it a duty to suppress all expression 
of her rebellious feelings. 

The main point, from the point of view of psycho- 
genesis, is that at this early stage we have constantly 
recurring conflicts between the conative forces pertaining 
to emotions linked with sentiments of duty, loyalty, and 
affection, on the one hand, and those pertaining to the 
rebellious thoughts with corresponding desires, impulses, 
etc., reinforced with the emotion of repugnance, on the 
other. The former always won and the latter were 
inhibited or repressed into the unconscious. These 
were not the only rebellious thoughts that were re- 
pressed. There were others from which the original 
rebellion received accretions. That such constantly 

* Nor were they the reaction to or the expression of a previously re- 
pressed sexual wish as any such wish would have met no conscious 
resistance. It is easy to see in the light of all the facts that, given a cer- 
tain change in the conditions, or point of view, there would have been 
no shock and no rebellion. 


repressed thoughts with their strong feeling tones 
should be conserved in the unconscious was a psycholog- 
ical necessity, and also that they should emerge by 
the force of their own urge into consciousness from 
time to time like an obsession whenever stimulated by 
environmental and personal conditions. I may simply 
cite the two following simple examples. 

The subject, governed by the maternal instinct, 
naturally loved to take care of her baby and "make 
things for him to wear, and fuss over them"; and yet 
there were " floating thoughts" of an opposite char- 
acter which later, as will appear, emerged and became 
conspicuous in the B complex and B personality. "She 
was very fond of her father-in-law and did everything 
to make him happy," and yet there were other thoughts 
which conceived of him as a "fussy old bother." These 
again were represented later in the loss of sentiments 
of affection and in the point of view of the B phases. 
There was no real dissociation and doubling of con- 
sciousness; these conflicting attitudes and tendencies 
were, at least in the beginning until the later period of 
stress and strain w r hen they eventuated in correspond- 
ing action, merely evanescent thoughts, wishes and im- 
pulses which easily passed out of mind, or an under- 
current of thought such as all of us have more or 

Later, when they became more insistent and per- 
sistent, they had to be repressed by an effort of 

Then it followed that C, conscious of these contrary 
impulses, reproached herself for them, thought herself 


wicked to have them, and when they became insistent 
repressed them. Their intrusion into consciousness 
was probably favored by a considerable degree of neu- 
rasthenia, for when she was ill they were more frequent 
and obtrusive, while with good health and happiness 
they disappeared, as is the case with all obsessing 

The occurrence of such contrary impulses would 
probably have been of no account and nothing more 
would have been heard from them, as in the case of 
ordinary mortals, if it had not been for a period of 
stress and strain which she was destined to undergo. 
As it was, the awakening of these contrary thoughts 
and impulses was fraught with a danger to the psychical 
unity, a danger that actually materialized, namely: 
as these conflicting impulses, being also rebellious 
against the conditions of life, were constantly awakened 
contemporaneously with the specialized frequently 
recurring "rebellious complex," the whole tended to 
become synthesized into a large complex which later, 
during the second period of stress and strain, became 
in turn the nucleus of a still larger complex (B). During 
this latter period, as we shall see, like the forces of a 
growing political revolution, the rebellious thoughts and 
impulses increased in number, frequency and intensity, 
until there were times when they acquired the mastery 
in the conflicts and repressed the previously opposing 
thoughts of duty, affection, etc., and dominated the 
personality. The effect of such intense conflict was to 
cause by repression a rift in the personality, i. e., to 
dissociate a large system of ideas (with their emotions), 


from other systems. All this will appear as we go 

There is another point which it is interesting here to 
note. The secondary phase B looking back recognizes 
(i. e., has a sense of awareness) that the "rebellious 
thoughts" and the various contrary impulses were 
herself. "/ was the rebellion;" "I think of the rebellion 
as myself;" "I was the rebellion which she kept to 
herself;" "The first complex formed a something I 
am;" "I think I am made up of all the impulses which 
began to come then;" "It seems to me, as I think of it 
now, that I was always there sometimes more, some- 
tunes less in the form of conflicting impulses." In 
these and similar phrases B, over and over again, hi 
numerous analyses at widely separated intervals, 
identifies these early conscious processes with her own 
individuality. Nevertheless, "7 was not an I then, you 
know," she explains, "but to understand what I write 
you will have to call me so. I remember them now as 
my thoughts, but at that time I never thought of my- 
self as a self." "I never thought, 'I' do not like this or 
that then; it was like an impulse in the other direction" 
Let it not be forgotten, then, that at the beginning the 
rebellious complex and impulses were not synthesized 
and segregated as an ego. Nevertheless, in fact, when- 
ever she attempts to describe the early rebellious com- 
plex and the impulses she drops into the mode of saying, 
"I felt so and so," and finds herself obliged to use this 
personal pronoun when thinking of these past thoughts, 
and the same is true when she speaks of the more fully 
developed subsequent B complex. 


You will say that there is nothing particularly re- 
markable or unusual in this. We all think of our past 
thoughts as our own, even when they occurred, say, in 
absent mindedness when there was no consciousness of 
self. But the unusual thing is that B the subject in the 
B phase of personality does not think of C"s other 
thoughts or conscious experiences as her own. In fact 
she persistently refuses to recognize these others as 
hers. She has no feeling of their having belonged to 
her own consciousness. "They were not my thoughts," 
she says. This is true of this other content of the con- 
scious life of the early first period as well as of the later 
periods when the B complex and the B personality 
appeared. "She liked," such and such a thing; "I 
didn't!" "She thought," so and so; "I didn't;" refer- 
ring respectively to the thoughts of the dominant con- 
sciousness and the contrary thoughts. " Yet in referring 
to the B complex," she writes of the second period, 
"I find myself continually saying 'I'; it is difficult not 
to do so. This, I think, must show the intimate relation 
between the two. I think of the B complex and I find 
I think of it as myself, although I do not think of A and 
C as myself, and they do not seem to be my own per- 

This feeling by a secondary personality that certain 
conscious experiences belong, or belonged, to her own 
personal consciousness or ego and that others do not, 
or did not, belong is a common phenomenon in such 
cases and is of great significance. It is a phenomenon 
which justifies the inference that the relation which 


one system of ideas bears to that which we call the ego 
is different from that of the other system; it is a phe- 
nomenon, too, which must be taken into account in 
solving the problem of the ego. When we study the 
records of cases of multiple personality we find as a 
frequent observation that the secondary personality 
distinguishes between the conscious experiences which 
belong to itself and those which belong to the principal 
personality, and to other secondary personalities, if 
more than one. This differentiation is based upon the 
feeling of a particular self-consciousness being at- 
tached to the former and not to the latter. The con- 
ception of self and the self-regarding sentiment differ 
markedly in their content in the different phases of 
personality. The analysis of their contents shows 
this to be the case: e. g., the contained images and 
affects. It is not, therefore, simply a matter of the 
experiences occurring at different chronological epochs. 
Indeed the two different sets of experiences may be 
synchronous, one being conscious and the other co- 

I have passed over a question which is sure to be 
asked: Why did the " unexpectedly disagreeable" 
situation, whatever it was, occasion the " shock" and 
the rebellious complex? I may say frankly that the 
situation was not one which would induce such a 
disastrous effect in the ordinary individual. The 
answer is to be found in the principle of settings which 
give meaning to ideas. [Every idea over and above 
the sensory images which take part in its content has 
meaning; and the meaning is determined by antecedent 


experiences (thoughts, perceptions, feelings, etc.) with 
which it is associated, i. e., in which it is set. An idea 
of a particular individual, for example, has one meaning 
for one person and another meaning for another accord- 
ing to the associated mental experiences of each. These 
experiences form the setting or context which deter- 
mines the meaning, point of view, and attitude of mind 
towards any given object or situation presented to 
consciousness.]* Whenever an emotional "shock" 
(one that is not a simple instinct reaction) occurs, this 
setting of antecedent experiences, organized with the 
idea and emotions, acts as a unitary complex, a psychic 
whole, and behaves as a sort of psychological torch 
which some later experience sets aflame, so to speak, 
as an emotional shock. Because of this setting the 
idea reacts in accordance with the emotions (fear, dis- 
gust, etc.) which the "meaning" includes, and induces 
a defense reaction. Now analytical investigation re- 
vealed settings to the "situation" dating in part from 
early childhood and in part from later experiences. An 
attitude of mind, therefore, already existed which was 
ready to react with the emotions (fear and disgust) 
which were excited by the meaning of the situation. It 
is easy to see, in the light of the actual facts, that if a 
certain factor of the situation had been altered, without 
altering the situation itself, its meaning would have 
been altered, i. e., it would not have awakened the set- 
ting built up by the experiences of life, and would not 
have excited the emotional response (shock) that ensued. 

* Lecture X; also, " The Meaning of Ideas as Determined by Uncon- 
scious Settings," Journal Abnormal Psychology, Oct.-Nov., 1912. 



But the organization of an emotional complex was 
not the whole effect of these experiences. In addition, 
if the memories of B can be trusted and I believe they 
can there resulted in a minor degree a cleavage or 
dissociation of personality. This was not so pronounced 
as to give rise to noticeable pathological manifesta- 
tions, but apparently sufficient to make at least a line 
of indenture, so to speak, which afterwards was easily 
broadened and deepened into a complete dissociation. 
This is not easy to demonstrate at this late date, but 
there are certain facts that have some evidential value. 

In the first place, according to the evidence, there 
developed a tendency in what we have called the re- 
bellious complex to take on independent activity, or an 
automatism after the nature of an obsession, outside 
the domain of the will and self-control. No amount of 
reasoning or of self-reproach sufficed to change the 
point of view. Like an obsession it would not down and 
recurred automatically. 

In the second place, it seems, according to B's 
memories, that the activity of the rebellious complex of 
ideas began to take place to a certain extent outside 
the focus of the attentive consciousness, in the sense 
that the personal consciousness was not conscious or 
aware of their presence. This means that at times 
when the ideas in question were not in consciousness, 
and therefore might be supposed to be dormant in the 
unconscious, they recurred nevertheless and were in 
subconscious activity, i. e., were co-conscious. This 


statement is based upon the interrogation of B who to 
the best of her memory thought that the "rebellious 
ideas were split off and went on by themselves while the 
subject C was thinking of other things, without her 
being aware of them." "They were co-conscious as I 
know it now." 

Too much weight should not be laid upon memories 
of this kind after such long intervals of time, and I 
would not be understood as doing so; but that the 
memories of this secondary personality may be given 
their just value it should be explained that, like some 
other secondary personalities, B's memory embraces 
not only the mental states (thoughts, perceptions, 
feelings, etc.,) of the principal personality which were 
within the focus of attention, but those which were in 
the fringe or margin of awareness and those which 
were entirely outside, i. e., fully subconscious. This 
has proved to be the case by numerous test observa- 
tions and experiments. B might, therefore, remember 
split off (co-conscious) rebellious states if they existed. 
One reason for this enlargement of the field of memory 
of this phase of personality is that besides being an 
alternating personality * she is a co-conscious personal- 
ity. But this is another story which we shall have to 
postpone for the present. 

In the third place, the constant invasion of the field 
of the personal consciousness by the contrary impulses, 
which I have already spoken of, suggest, if they do not 
establish, a certain degree of automatic activity arising 

* I use the present tense as more convenient although I am speaking 
of a past condition. 


from the unconscious and dissociated from the rest of 
the conscious field. In the light of what has already 
been told and of later developments, to be described in 
the next lecture, the inference assumes a high degree of 
probability that these impulses were manifestations of 
ideas and feeling tones belonging to an earlier period 
of life childhood or girlhood which had been con- 
served in the unconscious and which now erupted into 
the field of the personal co-consciousness. 

I do not want to make too much of these early 
tendencies to dissociation nor is the matter important. 
For historical comprehension, however, it is desirable 
that the facts should be mentioned for, if our inter- 
pretation be correct, they were evidently steps in the 
evolution of the final disintegration. 

Thus matters went on during this first period, 
covering a span of 14 years; sometimes the rebellious 
complex, enlarged and constellated with conflicting 
thoughts, desires and impulses, recurred with fre- 
quency, and sometimes they remained dormant for 
considerable intervals, the state of general health 
apparently often being the conditioning factor. 




At the end of the 14-year span when the second 
period begins the subject "received a great shock in 
the sudden illness of her husband. This illness was of 
such a nature that she knew no complete recovery was 


possible and that death might result at any time." 
This second shock aroused once more the emotion of 
fright, and the old rebellion and a certain apprehen- 
siveness, a trait which is inherent to a marked degree 
in her character. During the following four years 
which covered the illness of her husband she was 
almost literally torn to pieces mentally by this appre- 
hensiveness always anticipating the inevitable hang- 
ing over her. 

After the first two weeks, when her husband's 
temporary recovery took place, the same old rebellious 
complex returned with intensified force as the condition 
that gave rise to it returned. But she repressed all 
expression of it, resolved that no one should guess her 
secret because she did not wish to give pain to another. 
So she kept her secret to herself, and what she kept to 
herself became the beginnings of a new personality. 
"Then came the nervous strain of sorrow, anxiety, and 
care, and the inability to reconcile herself to the in- 
evitable. This nervous strain continued for four years. 
C's life during this time was given up entirely to the 
care of her husband; she tried to live up to her ideal 
which was a high one of duty and responsibility, and 
always having the sense of failure, discouragement and 
apprehension." Necessarily she was cut off from the 
social world of gaiety by the care that devolved upon 
her or, considering her temperament, thought she was. 
A person of less intense feeling and governed by pure 
intellect quite likely might have reasonably arranged 
her life so that she could have both given all the care 
she wished to the invalid, on the one hand, and partici- 


pated in the pleasures of social life, on the other. But, 
like many anxious wives and mothers whom all phy- 
sicians see, her anxiety and feelings were too intense for 
such cool reasoning, her mind became single tracked 
and she shut herself off from the world she loved. 
Consequently, during this period of stress and strain 
the old rebellious complex not only became intensified 
and more persistent, but also became enlarged and 
systematized with a still larger cluster of rebellious 
thoughts. To the old rebellion there was now added a 
rebellion against the hardness of fate which was about 
to cheat her out of the happiness which belonged to her, 
and still more against the new conditions of life as she 
found them. This is what the incurable illness of her 
husband meant to her. 

She rebelled bitterly [B writes in a letter;] she could not have it 
so and it was so. No one knew what his illness was and she bent 
every energy to conceal his true condition. She blamed herself for 
his illness [in her ignorance of the pathology of disease], and after a 
time she began to have that sense of being double. More than 
anything else she wanted to be happy; she saw all happiness going 
and she could not let it go it must not she would be happy, and 
she couldn't. It was a fight with herself all the time. We were A and 
B then just as much as we are now. The part that afterwards be- 
came A doing all that a devoted conscientious wife could do, deter- 
mined that her husband should never miss anything of love and 
care; and the part that afterwards became B rebelling against it all, 
not willing to give up her youth, longing for pleasure, and above all 
for happiness. To be happy, that was always the cry, and it was not 

It was a longing for conditions which in her mind 
seemed essential, and she could not accept the condi- 


tions as they were. "It was a rebellion, a longing for 
happiness, a disinclination to give up the pleasures of 
life which the conditions required; and there was a 
certain determination to have these pleasures in spite of 
everything, and this resulted in a constant struggle 
between C and this complex." It was that inability, 
which is so common and causes so much mental dis- 
turbance and unhappiness in so many people, to recon- 
cile and adjust oneself to the actual situation of one's 
life and accept it. And here, in the case of B. C. A., 
we recognize hi the center of the rebellion of this 
second period of stress and strain, the same thoughts 
which had cropped up evanescently during the first 
period but now become more intense and persistent, 
more disturbing and the fundamental, cause of the 
inability to adjust herself to the situation. 

These thoughts, however, were not tolerated by the 
subject and were put out of mind and repressed into the 
unconscious by her rightmindedness. It thus became a 
matter of conflict between the light-hearted gay senti- 
ments and temperament of inexperienced youth which, 
in ignorance of life, finds it difficult to accept its serious 
responsibilities, and the sentiments of honor, duty, and 
affection which were the dominating traits. These 
facts are too intimate to go into in greater detail, but 
each one will probably recognize in himself some such 
conflicting desires and tendencies. 

This is the place to point out certain major traits in 
the character of B. C. A. which enable us to recognize 
more clearly the source of the conflicting impulses and 


help to make intelligible their uprushes. There were 
two strongly marked elements in her character which 
had always been noticeable and which, given the 
appropriate conditions, were almost bound to come in 
conflict. B. C. A. during all her girlhood days and 
early married life was noted for her happy, buoyant, 
lively, light-hearted disposition. She was ready at all 
times for pleasure and could not bear to give it up, and 
she had an unusually intense desire to be happy; she 
loved happiness and wanted happiness, and when 
happiness dominated, as it generally did in a person 
of such a disposition, she was filled with the "joy of 
life." Responsive to her environment,* when her sur- 
roundings were sympathetic all the joy and mirth of 
her own personality was given out and reflected upon 
others. She was of an intense nature in that she felt 
all the anxieties, sorrows, and joys of life with great and 
equal intensity. But it was joy and happiness which 
appealed to her as the one thing she must preserve. 
This was one of her character traits. 

On the other hand, the second trait was equally 
strong, namely, unreasonably high moral ideals, so 
high even in the little every day affairs of life that 
only a strong stern fanatic or ascetic could live con- 
sistently and perpetually up to them; she was intensely 
conscientious and high-minded with an almost in- 
ordinate sense of honor and duty; and there was also an 
overweening pride in her rectitude and moral ideals 
which sometimes seems to have transcended common- 

* As illustrated by her responsive behaviour at the theatre (p. 558), 
as I have witnessed it there and socially. 


sense; and there was pride in her pride. Reserved and 
rather unapproachable to strangers she was affectionate 
to relatives and intimates. 

These two traits of character if analyzed would be 
seen to be two great strongly contrasted unitary sys- 
tems of ideas and sentiments with their respective 
emotions and feelings. They formed two sides to her 
personality, and the conflicts that ensued could be 
said to have been between the two sides. 

To say that these two traits or groups of traits love 
of the joy of life and conscientious devotion to duty- 
were combined in one person is not of course to mention 
anything out of the ordinary. What was out of the 
ordinary was the intensity with which each existed. 
Now that she has recovered from her illness and has 
reverted to the normal synthesized personality these 
traits are still easily noticeable. None but a person of 
unusually strong, fixed character, capable of holding an 
ideal continuously in mind, subordinating all else, could 
have downed the cry for happiness and lighter pleasures 
of life. When we come to the secondary split personal- 
ities we shall see that the splitting was between these 
two traits or systems; the elements of one gathering 
about itself associated elements, formed one personality 
with corresponding reactions to the environment, and 
the elements of the other in similar fashion formed the 
other personality. Thus stronger conflicts arose. 

The recognition of mental conflicts as disturbances of 
personality and determinants of conduct is as old as 
literature itself. They have been the theme of poets, 


dramatists and fiction writers of every age. It has re- 
mained for modern dynamic psychology to study and 
determine with exactness the phenomena, discover the 
mental mechanisms involved and formulate the laws. 
One school, the so-called psycho-analysts, claims to 
find in practically all conflicts, a very complicated 
mechanism involving repression, unconscious processes 
(generally a sexual wish for the most part from infantile 
life) a "censor," a compromise, conversion and dis- 
guisement of the repressed factor in the form of a 
psycho-neurosis, or other mental and physiological 
phenomena, substitution, etc. I have no intention of 
entering into a discussion of the correctness of such 
mechanisms. The sole point I wish to make is that, 
even if so, to find such mechanisms and results to be 
universal is the reductio ad absurdum just as it would 
be to find that a conflict between a policeman and a 
resisting rioter is always carried out by a process which 
is manifested by a black eye and cracked skull, arrest, 
trial and conviction of the rioter. The process of the 
physical conflict may be simple or complex and be 
manifested and terminated in many ways. It may be 
carried out by and result in simple dissociation of the 
rioter from the crowd and sending him home about his 

So with mental conflicts which may be manifested 
in many ways and have various results. In previous 
lectures we have considered some of these ways and 
results. One way and mechanism is, as in the latter 
example of the rioter, the simple repression and dis- 
sociation of the weaker factor resulting in the domina- 


tion of the stronger, and the determination of conduct 
according to the impulses and tendencies organized 
within the mental system that has gained the as- 
cendency. But in maintaining social law and order 
we may have to deal, not with a single rioter, but with a 
mob or organized rebellion. Then the repression of the 
uprising may bring into action more men and more 
systematized forces and may result in the repression of 
organized factions and an alteration of the social system. 
So mental conflicts may involve large systems and 
result in extensive rearrangements and repressions; in 
other words, an alteration with dissociation of per- 
sonality. This was the mechanism and result in the 
case now under examination. 

The conflicts were between the impulses or conative 
forces discharged from the emotions pertaining to 
youthful sentiments of pleasure and joy and play and 
ideas with exalting pleasure-feeling tones, all con- 
stituting wishes for the pleasures and happiness of 
youth conflicts, I mean, between these forces and 
those of ethical sentiments of duty, together with 
other sentiments involving the emotions of affection, 
anxiety, sympathy, admiration, and depressing pain- 
feeling tones. For the time being, at least, the latter won 
and the former were repressed. But they were still there, 
conserved in the unconscious, ready to spring to life 
in response to a stimulus at any favorable opportunity 
when the repressing force of the will power was weak- 
ened by stress and strain. So we see that the con- 
flicting wishes and impulses which jarred and threat- 


ened the mental equilibrium of the subject were, after 
all, only impulses or incursions from the unconscious of 
repressed antecedent mental experiences (wishes and 
conative tendencies) which were elements in the normal 

Thus it came about that the original complex of 
rebellious thoughts against a particular condition had 
become slowly enlarged into a rebellion against general 
conditions, and constellated with a number of specific 
wishes for pleasure (which were incompatible with her 
life} and their corresponding impulses into a still larger 

It is this latter that we have called the B complex. 

It had become evolved and organized out of the 
original " rebellious" complex as its nucleus by receiving 
successive accretions from later rebellious ideas and 
wishes in conflict with the personality, much as the 
pearl in the oyster grows by successive accretions. 

From one point of view it was a highly developed 

It was still under control but later, as we shall find, 
it was destined to assume autonomous activity and 
play a dominant role. 

"C was still, conscious of these thoughts, [B wrote in 
her account], but they represented to her the selfish 
and weak part of her nature and she tried to suppress 
them; tried to put them out of her mind but they still 
persisted, and she was always to a greater or less extent 
aware of them. There was no lack of awareness and no 
amnesia. As the months and years went on the sorrow 
and anxiety of the C group increased, and the con- 


flicting thoughts and rebellion of the B group increased. 
C was ashamed of the latter and always tried to sup- 
press such thoughts as they arose. If during those 
years anything happy had come to C the formation 
of this rebellious complex would, I believe, have been 
retarded, perhaps stopped altogether, but nothing 
pleasant happened; it was all grief, and everything went 

Notwithstanding the continuing stress and strain and 
lack of joy all probably would have gone well if C's 
husband had recovered and she had retained her 
physical health. Returning to her normal life, she 
would have been only one more of those who have 
lived through a period of anxious perturbation. But 
unfortunately, as it happened, "C's husband died 
suddenly away from home, the one thing she had 
[dreaded and] felt she could not bear." She received 
the news over the telephone. 

She did not recover [B states] from the shock and became more 
and more nervous, was very much depressed, easily fatigued, 
suffered constantly from headache, and was possessed by all sorts of 
doubts and fears, reproaching herself for things done and undone. 
She also overtaxed her strength in attending to business matters. 

C's physical health immediately and suddenly gave 
way. Her own account, already given, goes more into 
detail and lets us see the extent to which she was 
handicapped by physical and mental ill-health in her 
struggle against her rebellious impulses against fate. 
She was not given half a chance. Her description of 
her condition at this period, as noted at the beginning 


of this account, is worth repeating here in this connec- 

I was at that time in good physical health, though nervously 
worn, but this death occurred in such a way as to cause me a great 
shock and within the six days following I lost twenty pounds in 
weight. For nearly three months I went almost entirely without 
food, seemingly not eating enough to sustain life, and I did not 
average more than three or four hours' sleep out of the twenty-four, 
but I felt neither hungry nor faint, and was extremely busy and 
active, being absorbed both by home responsibilities and business 
affairs. The end of the year, however, found me in very poor health 
physically and I was nervously and mentally exhausted. I was 
depressed, sad, felt that I had lost all that made life worth living 
and, indeed, I wished to die. I was very nervous, unable to eat or 
sleep, easily fatigued, suffered constantly from headache, to which 
I had always been subject, and was not able to take much exercise. 
The physician under whose care I was at this time told me, when I 
asked him to give my condition a name, that I was suffering from 
"nervous and cerebral exhaustion." 

It is always the case in so-called neurasthenic states 
that the power of self-control is weakened, resistance to 
obsessing thoughts diminishes and the latter tend to 
take on automaticity and invade and dissociate the 
personality. And there is also a certain degree of re- 
pression and dissociation of previously dominant sys- 
tems of ideas. In other words every case of real so- 
called " neurasthenia " and hysteria is a greater or less 
alteration of personality.* 

Accordingly, although at the beginning of period II 
the B complex was only a loosely organized system of 
rebellious thoughts, wishes and impulses recurring 

* " Hysteria from the Point of View of Dissociated Personality." 
Journal Abnormal Psychology, 1906. 


from time to time, this system now began in her phys- 
ically and mentally weakened condition to acquire 
increased force, to invade the personal consciousness, 
and breaking through the repressing force of the will 
to gain autonomous sovereignty and temporarily to 
dominate the conduct. In the prolonged conflict the 
rebellion with its contrary wishes was at moments to 
gain the ascendency. In other words, these other ele- 
ments came to the surface and gathered to themselves 
all the discordant elements of personality, much as a 
radical political party gathers to itself all the rebellious 
discordant factions that are in antagonism to the 
governing conservative party. In one sense another 
side to the character had become crystallized and 
autonomous, and, through the intensity of its feeling 
tones, became periodically dominant. But not without 
protest from the previously dominant elements of 
personality. This protest, however, had certain psy- 
chological peculiarities which show that the conditions 
were not quite as simple as this. I will speak of them 

Soon the repressed wishes, impulses the B com- 
plex began to manifest themselves in a way which 
indicated that a definite dissociation had taken place, 
although as yet, as I have said, there was no secondary 
self or I properly speaking. All the previous under- 
currents of thought the intensified shrinking from 
the particular condition of life, the internal rebell